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ZRock, ZStage, Betsys (Read 653 times)
Bottlehead
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ZRock, ZStage, Betsys
09/02/17 at 10:40:12
 
Good Morning, fellow Decwarians,

This review concerns products from two of our favorite guys Ė Steve Deckert, and Randall Rash, aka Randy from Caintuck.

Iím still trying to wrap my head around the sound that Iím getting with my new system. Well, to be more accurate, the only new component is the ZRock2. Everything else is tried and true.

Before I get into my review, hereís a little bit of background: I have two complete systems that Iím very happy with Ė my main system, which was WAY more expensive than the system that Iím reviewing, and my bedroom system, which was quite a bit more expensive than the system that Iím reviewing. So I should be satisfied with what Iíve got, right? I know, but I donít seem to have an ďoffĒ switch when it comes to audio (or tools, for that matter, but thatís another story).

So, for the last couple of years, Iíve been scheming about a dedicated R&R/R&B/MOTOWN(!) system. I already had most of the components Ė Cary Audio 303/300 cd player, Zstage, upgraded Cary Audio Six Pacs, and VMPS 626 monitor speakers, backed up by 15Ē open-baffle Hawthorne Audio Augies, amped by a Hsu Research sub amp. I was in the process of upgrading the VMPS speakers when Steve started talking about the Zrock. I was immediately intrigued, so I ordered one. When it came, I put all the pieces into place, and was TOTALLY underwhelmed. What the hell? I mean, the Zrock performed EXACTLY as advertised, but it was like a big muffler had been placed over the music. I had been listening to my main (open-baffle) system just prior to putting the pieces into place for my new system, so I suppose it wasnít really a fair comparison. I played around with it for a while, and realized that the weak link was the speakers. I was bummed because my first successful audio pairing 10 years ago was the Six Pacs with the VMPS speakers. Evidently my audio tastes have progressed. So I put a pair of Betsys into the system. Holy Yowza! Anybody who thinks that the Betsys canít rock needs to listen to Clarence Clemmons (RIP, Big Man), or Charlie Watts (may you never die, Stick Man). And if you donít believe them, Joe Bonamassa and Eric Clapton would like a word with you.

Anyway, as you can see from the picture (I hope) everything is right in front of me, and I have to say Ė this is the most ďtunableĒ system that Iíve ever had. Being able to adjust the ďhitĒ on the left (Zrock), and the volume (uh, excuse me, Steve), the GAIN (Zstage) on the right, makes each track listenable, no matter how it was recorded. So if you donít think that you need a Zrock, you might want to hear one in your system before you decide.

As for the Betsys, I have been convinced for a year or so now, about their ability to reproduce vocals, acoustic music, chamber music, etc, but I hadnít really pushed them. Now Iím convinced of their ability to perform at whatever level you ask them to. And for a pittance, too.

So Happy Labor Day to all, and especially to our ďAudio EnablersĒ, Steve and Randy. Thank you, we are not worthy!!

The Other Randy
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Lon
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Posts: 13044
Re: ZRock, ZStage, Betsys
Reply #1 - 09/02/17 at 12:51:46
 
Randy,

A great review! I went back and forth with the ZROCK2 and decided to cancel my order--I honestly have the tonal control I need with my Torii Mk III and LOVE the sound that I have (especially today with the ZTPRE in the loop!) But your experience increases my interest. I think one day I'll order one again.

And the Betsys just get more and more positive feedback. Congrats Mr. Randy! I've two pair of speakers in storage and you still have me wishing I had a place for the Betsys to bloom! You're really on to something and you're engaged in a labor of love. Kudos, that's the way to be.

Great idea to have a system dedicated to these genres Randy! You can really dial in the sound, which "sounds" exactly what is happening with the "Zs". . . the STAGE and the ROCK2. I think you are going to have a lot of fun with this setup!

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« Last Edit: 09/02/17 at 12:52:44 by Lon »  

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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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: ZRock, ZStage, Betsys
Reply #2 - 09/02/17 at 18:47:59
 


Hi Lon,
Thanks for the kind words and positive thoughts ..... †

Bottlehead (Randy),

Many thanks for taking the time to post this review .....
It's encouraging to hear that the Betsy baffles are proving to be so versatile. I have received a lot of emails from folks who have purchased them and it seems that the Betsy baffles are working for music lovers with a pretty wide range of tastes .....

When fed with some high quality electronics "upstream" as you have done, it has been my experience that they can punch well beyond their price point ..... †

As always, Steve Deckert continues to design and manufacture products that meet the "real world" needs of music lovers who enjoy a wide variety of musical genres .....

Best wishes and happy listening,
Randy
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CEC TL5N belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus turntable
AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB DAC / tablet
Decware Model SE84UFO amplifier
Caintuck Audio Betsy Open Baffles and Alpha bass baffles
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maddog07
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seeker of truth

Posts: 475
Re: ZRock, ZStage, Betsys
Reply #3 - 09/07/17 at 02:32:09
 
Caintuck Randy...

you know the Betsy's can "rock"... remember my Torii driving them at Decfest last year? †nearly blew the roof off late Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Mike.
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« Last Edit: 09/07/17 at 02:33:21 by maddog07 »  

Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva XMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Wyred STP-SE, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, Cary SLI-80, DM945's.....
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Randy in Caintuck
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Tube be ... or not
tube be ... it's a
no-brainer.

Posts: 588
Re: ZRock, ZStage, Betsys
Reply #4 - 09/07/17 at 13:40:55
 


Hi Mike,

I remember that listening session VERY well .....
It lasted until somewhere around 4:00 AM, as I recall.

Several potential customers have emailed me to inquire if the Betsy baffles would work at higher SPLs with more than a couple of watts per channel.

I usually relate the story to them about our late night listening session and mention that I had to check into a hospital the following morning to see if I had any cracked ribs ..... †

Looking forward to seeing you again in October .....

Best wishes,
Randy
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CEC TL5N belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus turntable
AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB DAC / tablet
Decware Model SE84UFO amplifier
Caintuck Audio Betsy Open Baffles and Alpha bass baffles
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Bottlehead
Seasoned Member
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Posts: 244
Re: ZRock, ZStage, Betsys
Reply #5 - 09/08/17 at 06:21:20
 
Hey Randy,

I can definitively answer the "higher SPLs with more than a couple of watts per channel" question. The Cary Audio Six Pacs that I'm using are 50 watts/channel, and make the Betsys SING!

The Other Randy
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