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An Exercise in SPEED (Read 18975 times)
Jeff of Arabica
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An Exercise in SPEED
02/19/18 at 18:26:20
 
Since I am awaiting the release of the 25th Anniversary stereo amps, and have some time and a little extra cash on hand - I've decided to embark on a little experiment.

A few months ago, I sent my ZMA to get the bias meters replaced/upgraded.  While it was there, I had Steve replace the Beeswax caps with the Jupiter Copper & Foil (Type II) capacitors. The stock speaker binding posts were replaced with top of the line WBT posts.  I also replaced the RCA input sockets with the best WBT sockets, both in silver to match the interconnect's metal.  Figured, why stop there?  Steve custom built a shielded, all silver wiring network for the signal path.  Lastly, I replaced the POT with a Gold Point 47-step stepped attenuator, and the IEC with a Rhodium Furutech (Audio Magic fuse installed).  

Boy, oh boy, she came back sounding sweet!  It was not a cheap venture, but money well spent and the results were audible.  

Fast forward to about a month ago.  Taking another move out of member Vyokyong's playbook, I decided to test out a 10uF film capacity to bypass the stock electrolytics.   This was a change I wasn't all that excited about since it altered Steve's topology, but I did it just to see how it affected the amp.  I used the same make/model, the Obligato.  I have to say, that it did have a positive effect on the speed of the amp.  Was it dramatic? No, but detectible nonetheless.  

As I mentioned, I don't want to change the topology and adding in a pair of capacitors does that.  I am comfortable replacing existing key parts and components with higher quality ones.  So rather than attempt to create a film bypass network, changing the topology, I am going to remove the 10uF caps and swap out the two big red electrolytics along with the four 47uF bypass electrolytics in the stock power supply.  I want to install the best ones money can buy.  All of my research has led me to Mundorf.  It seems as though they have made some great headway in this department and have new technologies in their power capacitors that dramatically reduce ESR and ESL.  

Link:  http://www.mundorf.com/en/?category=hifi&menu=caps_power&content=mlytic

I have decided to go with the MLytic® HP+ (4700uF 500v) for the large capacitors and the TubeCap (film) to replace each of the four 47uF electrolytics.  Both are very interesting in design and seem to be the answer to the sluggish electrolytic problem so many have addressed with film cap bypassing.  The TubeCaps are of particular interest as they were specifically designed for tube amplifiers - hence the name.  Here is a short descriptor:

Quote:
The TubeCap® combines a high degree of dielectric strength and low residual inductivity with a very compact form of construction. It has been developed as a high-quality technical alternative to high-voltage electrolytic capacitors and is thus ideally suited to use in tube amplifiers.


So, it's a polypropylene film cap purpose-built to replace electrolytic power caps.  Being film, the ESR is extremely low, but pulls the duty of electrolytic at 47uF.  

This is not a cheap experiment, but I have a good feeling about it.  For the six capacitors, I invested $610.  But if successful in adding the speed the ZMA lacks in comparison to other more nimble amps in the Decware line-up, then I would consider it dirt cheap!  

The new caps arrive tomorrow, but I'm not sure when I can get my local tech to solder them in.  Hopefully within the next week or two.   Ill let you know.  
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stone_of_tone
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #1 - 02/19/18 at 19:32:26
 
Keep us posted Jeff. I remember Vyokyong's journey....we did some Stealth IC's too.

Steve made mention in the Development Thread/Reply #646:
"I will comment that the ZMA because of its giant caps already has a similar liquidity so I plan to re-examine the bypass caps in it and see if additional speed is desirable."

I certainly took note of this. I find the speed just fine. However, with your Obligato upgrade, "was it dramatic, no...but detectable nonetheless." ...has me thinking.

I had mine back to Steve last February (Meter's/Resistor's)...and when he gets around to seeing if he likes the improvement/re-examining the bypass caps...in the ZMA....I'll send mine to him for the upgrade.

Or, I will say this, if you like the improvement of your TubeCaps.....I'm doing it. $610 + labor of my local tech (Joe, modified my Adagio's with MCap Supremes). This will be a no brainer/since I am sticking with and only with, my ZMA and my stellar modified Adagio's.

You will need some burn in time....but keep us posted with delivery tomorrow and pic's if you don't mind, before you close her up. I would like to have for my tech.  

Having the option of sending to Steve or doing here will be nice. The shipping NAZI'S always scare me...even though she is in her Pelican Case.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #2 - 02/19/18 at 19:40:08
 
You stated: "So rather than attempt to create a film bypass network, changing the topology", ....which is what Steve is saying he is going to examine..... .

......you're doing these 2 + 4 TubeCaps!  I like this better (for Speed)!

If you totally dig this.....it's a done deal on this end.

....and thanks for the Thread....further Mundorf education is at hand!
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #3 - 02/19/18 at 19:45:37
 
Currently, the stock power capacitor compliment is (2) 4700uf ("Big Red") and (4) 47uF electrolytic capacitors.

Ill be replacing the large red 4700uF caps with two of the Mundorf MLytic HP+ capacitors.  The (4) stock 47uF electrolytic power caps will be replaced by the Mundorf TubeCap's (Film=Fast).  So, six caps in total, two big and fours small.  

I'm definitely eager to hear what this will do to the ZMA's speed.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #4 - 02/19/18 at 19:49:09
 
Yes, thanks for the clarifications.

I'm excited about this! Taking the ZMA to triode speed, oh yeah.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #5 - 02/19/18 at 19:56:58
 
Quote:
You will need some burn in time....but keep us posted with delivery tomorrow and pic's if you don't mind, before you close her up. I would like to have for my tech.  


You betcha!  Ill send those over/post when I have them.  

And I'm with you on shipping.  Scares the hell out of me!  Pelican certainly helps but nothing helps more than simply NOT shipping and denying them an opportunity to play with gravity at the expense of our precious gear.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #6 - 02/19/18 at 21:17:58
 
There is an additional (identical) 47uF cap between the voltage regulator (OA3) and the two input tubes on each channel.  

So, I am going to replace this pair of electrolytic caps as well with the Mundorf TubeCaps.  So this will raise the TubeCap count to (6), plus the (2) huge MLytic HP+ caps.  The overall parts cost is now $680.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #7 - 02/19/18 at 22:34:19
 
You bet, 6 + the 2 replacing the big red Mallory's.

What are the size dimensions of the HP+ Caps? I did not get a scale of them or see size dimensions.

Are you going to keep the big reds intact/disconnected and prop stable the Plate outside its base until you get a complete sense of the power supply speed mod?
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Shunyata Z-Alpha DigPcord
Decware ZDSD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030
XLOProPcord
Decware ZMA/25th Mods
Kimber Select KS6063
Acoustic Zen Adagio/Modified
Kimber PK10 Palladian from wall
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #8 - 02/19/18 at 22:54:36
 
Quote:
What are the size dimensions of the HP+ Caps?

They are a hair smaller than the Mallory's in diameter, which is good.  Mallory's are 3" and these are 2.95" I believe.  The height is similar too, but I won't know for sure until the Mallory's are removed.  

Quote:
Are you going to keep the big reds intact/disconnected and prop stable the Plate outside its base until you get a complete sense of the power supply speed mod?


The large caps are simply held in place by a clamp on the underside of the plate, so I'm going to pull them out completely and put the MLytics HP+'s in their place.  Its easy enough to do.  And, if I like the results, no further work required  8-)

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Ace-Tone
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #9 - 02/20/18 at 01:57:44
 
JOA:  Wow! I wish you luck. And, I look forward to hearing all this goodness at your place one day soon!
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #10 - 02/20/18 at 02:18:45
 
Certainly Ace!  I definitely look forward to that.  And to be honest, in terms of my system now compared to then, you will be glad you waited.

Plus, Ill have a complete secondary system setup soon - 100% vintage (all fully restored) and 100% Stewart Hegeman.  Harman Kardon Citation I Preamp > Harman Kardon Citation II Amplifier > Hegeman Model 1a Speakers - all designed by Stu.   It will be fun to push music through one, then the other.  
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Rachel//Super Zen//Taboo MKIII//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Muse Phono Stage//London Decca Reference//Dynavector DV-507 MKII//Zen Head//SonoruS Reel-to-Reel w/ tube playback pre-amp//Essence Audio Amethyst Reference 10A Speaker
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stone_of_tone
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #11 - 02/20/18 at 03:08:15
 
Very cool 2nd System.

Yes, the clamp should tighten up on that 2.95".

Once again, excited about this. If it snaps the PRaT in better = sign me up.

Then, I'll get your vendor you purchased from, pics first of course, silver solder used, et al.

When I read Steve's mind thinking about this via bypass caps if more speed is desirable and then your post going the power caps speed route....it needs to be done one way or the other.
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Sony TPort
Illuminati D60
Shunyata Z-Alpha DigPcord
Decware ZDSD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030
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Decware ZMA/25th Mods
Kimber Select KS6063
Acoustic Zen Adagio/Modified
Kimber PK10 Palladian from wall
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Jeff of Arabica
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Name the greatest of
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Accident.

Posts: 857
Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #12 - 02/20/18 at 05:08:09
 
Thanks Stone.  It’s my all tube, but higher power system (120 watts) with lower efficiency speakers.  A very good compliment to my current Decware/Omega setup.  Hope to get the pre-amp and amp back from the current restoration effort within the next couple of weeks.

But not to get sidetracked....

I hear you.  It definitely got me thinking as well.  And having owned the Torii Jr. prior to my ZMA, I get what Steve is saying about speed.  So, I find this a very worthwhile experiment, and if it works, I can’t imagine it being anything but great for this already masterpiece of an amp.  

And yes, regardless of how you get there, getting there is what is most important.  I shall see how this plays out.  For me, I don’t want to change component values and throw the system off in anyway.  I am no amp designer and would never proclaim that I can outsmart the Zen Master.  So, I respect the design in the utmost.  But I am a business owner and understand cost of goods, resale value, and creating products for your target customer.  So what I am doing, is adding $700 of raw cost to an amp I own, and am not concerned with reselling.  Steve has to figure out how to accomplish his goals with each amp without pricing himself out in the process.  

Let’s wait and see how this all plays out.  If I get lucky and this puts the ZMA in a whole other league, then anyone with a ZMA and some extra spending cash will benefit.  But even if it does work, I don’t see these caps being on a Decware option list for the ZMA due to sheer cost.  But who knows.  If it works, there would be a lot of ROI on that added cost.  The 47uF caps are $32 a piece - far less than the cost to upgrade to Type II Jupiter caps.  
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Rachel//Super Zen//Taboo MKIII//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Muse Phono Stage//London Decca Reference//Dynavector DV-507 MKII//Zen Head//SonoruS Reel-to-Reel w/ tube playback pre-amp//Essence Audio Amethyst Reference 10A Speaker
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stone_of_tone
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #13 - 02/20/18 at 14:16:48
 
I respect the design of the Amp in the utmost too and only want to tackle the power cap area and path from 0A3.

However, we are at a point in its evolution of ownership to push on its masterpiece musicality for even more... . Whether through the Zen Master's conclusions when he reaches them; with what he suggested and will implement-if successful, and/or your experiment and its potentially successful outcome.

~Pending the Outcomes~
Furthermore, as we discussed, even though I hate having this family aireloom in music reproduction leave my home....I will send back to the Zen Master for one or the other or both enhancements. Both only, if he agree's. Or respectfully, I could have the one done here.

I look forward to this journey J of A. Let's roll.







Today....just back in.....running for the next 2 or 3 weeks:
~NOS Ediswan's for input's ~ NOS Telefunken's for inverter's ~ 6P3S-E quad & NOS RCA 0A3's
~Direct from ZDSD output transformer's (no Line Stage).




.......here is my order of Listening (keeping each scenario in one to two weeks at a time):


ZMA direct from ZDSD with Platinum Mullard pair (Cryo'd) 7308/E188CC ....as inputs/ZMA


ZMA direct from ZDSD with Platinum Ediswan pair (Cryo'd) CV2492/6922 ....as inputs/ZMA


Audio Research LS-2B/single Plat' Mullard 7308/E188CC (Cryo'd) to Plat' Tungsram pair PCC88/7DJ8 ...inputs/ZMA.




ZMA, updated with robust Western Electric Bias/Balance Meter's and new Resistor's ~ Feb/17





Listening Room:



Room Treatments from Michael Green & my Home Brew


Sony as Transport (DVP-NS57P)
Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax IC ~.5 meter


Shunyata Research Zitron Alpha Digital Power Cord to ZDSD {Significant}


Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder
***************************************************************
W/Steve's Output Transformer's/kicking to the Curb quite a few superb DAC'S
***************************************************************
(@ -20 Ref Level, 0.0 Input volume and @ 16/192)


WBT RCA Kimber Select KS1030 ~.5 meter


Audio Research Stereo Line Stage Amplifier w/remote volume & mute LS-2B MkII
NOS Platinum/Mullard 7308/E188CC / Cryogenic


WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030 ~.75 meter


Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
~BIASED at *56* mA~
NOS/Platinum/Mullard E188CC/7308's in my A12 an B12 Input positions Cryogenic~NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC for Inverter Tubes~NOS RCA 0A3's & matched Quad/Tung-Sol KT66's or 6P3S-E's

ZMA adjusted at  60-80% Gain ~ when ARC Line Stage is in, running via Remote Control



***************************************************
Kimber Select KS6063 Speaker Cable 8ft WBT-0681-Ag Spades
***************************************************
Kimber 8TC new/white & clear jacket/to remind me of how fluid/timbre correct and good the KS6063 are.....
Also Read.....the lowest noise floor you will ever witness....that a $5180 pair of speaker cables should have....and they do.....(I was fortunate to get them for $2680/Demo pair/mint, from the CableCo....worth every penny/extraordinary realism.....)



Acoustic Zen Adagio - Black Pearl (Modified)
.....enjoying from 8 ohm ZMA Taps


Caintuck Audio Eminence Alpha 15" OB BASS Unit
at 43Hz, with my Velodyne CHT 130 watt plate amp and 0 degree phase.....at 1/8th volume on plate
Plate Amp....regen'd clean ~ plugged into P3
Auralex Subdude (a must)
(NOTE: Only needed when the recording calls for...Open Baffle Bass has been the best integration I have witnessed when needed and called on)







Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
(Gutted: 3kHz/18dB/Octave, Linkwitz/Riley Crossovers....with all crappy parts = gone)


XLO Pro Power Cord to ZMA
XLO Pro Power Cord to Audio Research LS-2B MkII
Shunyata Research Zitron Alpha Digital Power Cord to ZDSD {Significant}
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport, ARC Line Stage and ZDSD, Regenerated/*120*~ Multiwave off...ZMA on High Current Output)
System configured on Floor ~ Townshend Audio CD Seismic Sink deployed & other Isolation devices.


~NOS Platinum Tubes from Upscale Audio/Kevin:

(Great Britain) Mullard 7308/E188CC ~  2 pair (both pair Cryogenic)
(Germany) Telefunken 6922/E88CC ~ 1 pair (painfully expensive/worth it)
(US/Great Britain) Ediswan CV2492/6922 ~ 2 pair (one pair Cryogenic)
(Hungary) Tungsram 6922/E88CC ~ 1 pair
(Hungary) Tungsram PCC88/7DJ8 ~ 1 pair

(Russia) 6N23P's ~ 2 pair/came with ZMA.    
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Room Treats-M.Green & mine
Sony TPort
Illuminati D60
Shunyata Z-Alpha DigPcord
Decware ZDSD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030
XLOProPcord
Decware ZMA/25th Mods
Kimber Select KS6063
Acoustic Zen Adagio/Modified
Kimber PK10 Palladian from wall
to PS Audio P3
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Jeff of Arabica
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Name the greatest of
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Accident.

Posts: 857
Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #14 - 02/20/18 at 16:33:49
 
Quote:
However, we are at a point in its evolution of ownership to push on its masterpiece musicality for even more... . Whether through the Zen Master's conclusions when he reaches them; with what he suggested and will implement-if successful, and/or your experiment and its potentially successful outcome.


Word.


Let's do this.  Today the 2 large caps and 4 small caps arrive.  I ordered an extra pair from Sonic Craft which ship today and should arrive Friday at the latest.  When I get back home this evening I will take a couple snap shots so you can see them in the "flesh."

The more I think about this project and look into these specific Mundorf products, the more it makes sense.  We're not touching the signal path.  We're just souping up the engine, big time.  Speed is the intended outcome. Retain its aural greatness -make it quicker so as to handle the most demanding of music - and possibly find a unicorn along the way where we get an unintended augmentation of sound. Call it luck.  Call it an accident.  If it happens, either works for me.      :)
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stone_of_tone
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #15 - 02/20/18 at 17:05:20
 
Well put: "We're not touching the signal path.  We're just souping up the engine, ....."  "retaining its aural greatness"

...and yes, maybe a Unicorn of augmentation too.

...it does make sense to me as well....to go this path, first. I really don't want to touch the aural greatness...unless Steve is just gobsmacked when he tries HIS TOPOLOGY of bypass caps?! We know darn well, he is working his genius on the new Single Ended Amps.

I look forward to those pic's tonight/square one.
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Room Treats-M.Green & mine
Sony TPort
Illuminati D60
Shunyata Z-Alpha DigPcord
Decware ZDSD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030
XLOProPcord
Decware ZMA/25th Mods
Kimber Select KS6063
Acoustic Zen Adagio/Modified
Kimber PK10 Palladian from wall
to PS Audio P3
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Archie
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Posts: 1569
Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #16 - 02/20/18 at 17:51:02
 
Quote:
But even if it does work, I don’t see these caps being on a Decware option list for the ZMA due to sheer cost.


I wouldn't say that given that the Red Mallory caps were a $500 option for the original ZMAs.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Name the greatest of
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #17 - 02/20/18 at 18:57:54
 
For sure. These Mundorf’s run $242 a piece. So $500 a pair with shipping. I’m sure Steve can go direct and order cheaper. All depends on his markup requirement as to what it would cost us. But let’s see if these dang things even make a difference first.   Grin
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Rachel//Super Zen//Taboo MKIII//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Muse Phono Stage//London Decca Reference//Dynavector DV-507 MKII//Zen Head//SonoruS Reel-to-Reel w/ tube playback pre-amp//Essence Audio Amethyst Reference 10A Speaker
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #18 - 02/20/18 at 19:00:08
 
Maybe so Archie.

J of A, to add to how successful this power cap mod should be; you know and owned the Torii Jr. ....and as we know, Steve made mention of the Jr., in his re-examination mention for the ZMA.

So, essentially you/we are giving the premiere version (Mundorf/developed as a high-quality technical alternative) power caps/ZMA, that the Torii Jr. has its version of already from the Zen Master.....is my speculation.   ~Speed~

Or, are the UFO Output Transformer's the key? However, once again...I/we don't want to lose the Aural Sonic's that is the ZMA. So, starting with power supply caps is first..... .

Anyway, I will shut up now....and will unfold the Power Caps and then Bypass Caps (Steve's re-examination/topology).....and maybe UFO Tranny's for the ZMA, all in time.
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Room Treats-M.Green & mine
Sony TPort
Illuminati D60
Shunyata Z-Alpha DigPcord
Decware ZDSD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030
XLOProPcord
Decware ZMA/25th Mods
Kimber Select KS6063
Acoustic Zen Adagio/Modified
Kimber PK10 Palladian from wall
to PS Audio P3
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Archie
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #19 - 02/20/18 at 21:26:59
 
The stock caps all cost something so the addition wouldn't be the full freight.  Steve seems open to cap upgrades soo ...

I remember in a thread Steve saying that the ZMA transformers were already ultra linear and that he liked the amp as is so UFO wasn't in the cards for the ZMA.

It will be interesting to hear what the new caps might do.  I think it is Will or Mark we have to thank for pioneering beeswax caps in the ZP3, which I got despite them not being an "option" on the order page.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #20 - 02/20/18 at 23:39:50
 
The caps landed!  And they arrived safely.  Here are some pics....

The 4700uF cap next to the 47uF


4-Pin configuration of the 4700uF


47uF


Bottom view of 4700uF next to 47uF
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #21 - 02/20/18 at 23:54:30
 
Nice Jeff! Looking forward to your impressions!

I was inspired by Vyokyong too, but didn’t start making it real until the summer of 2016, starting by replacing my Torii MKIV Jupiter HTs with Jupiter Coppers. This followed with many months of changes. Though a different amp, I hope my experiences might help in your path.

Comfortable with soldering, I could let changes settle to better hear what was happening with each before more. I really like this for learning and understanding, but it has created a protracted process!

After several months of Jupiter burnin, having a bunch of small value caps around from speaker cap bypass experiments, I started exploring bypassing power supply caps. In the Torii, though now using total values of 0.15 uF to 0.33 uF bypasses on each of the original 47 uF electrolytics, even a 0.1 uF cap (1/470th value) clearly shows the character and influence of the bypass used. In my amps, the sound improvement potential seems as much or more from power supply bypasses as from coupling caps!

So, in the Torii and CSP3 anyway, the power supply may as well be called the signal path. Maybe the giant caps in the ZMA have such a powerful influence that bypasses are not as clear there? I don't know the tech, but here power supply bypasses sound fully interactive with the signal, rather than linear, like the motor analogy.

As I explored I realized I could keep Steve’s basic voice, but progressively refine it. I also learned I could subtly tune that voice, solving something I was always able to adjust to, but that was an inherent issue for me with the MKIV. Especially with louder playback, I heard it as signal compression/saturation that was a bit over the top for me...perhaps an aspect of how the signature portrayed "density?" So, as I went, I kept in mind pushing the signal a little less while creating easier flow.

By late January last year, I had a beautiful power supply balance, but being so fun, I continue tuning even now. I could easily have stopped back then, having reached a great place that was hard to beat, but then I broke through, and it is the best ever!

Doing the CSP3 along with the Torii, the Torii’s five power supply caps per channel now have 8 bypasses, only Jupiter HTs used twice...and the CSP3, 2 different power bypasses, and bypasses on the Jupiter HT coupling caps. Mixing and matching remains fun, fine-tuning value and types to refine tone, timbre, texture, speed, flow, macro dynamics, etc. The balance of qualities of each cap in the whole really has to be right with the others, but best I can tell, if balanced, using a variety of complimentary caps adds pretty amazing potential for natural musical complexity, also making all recordings more enjoyable.

Though the Torii was quite fast with the right tubes, cables, etc, I like it being a little faster as long as the tonal balance is rich and full enough to carry the speed. Also carrying each electrolytic a bit further in value with better caps can create greater definition that resolves congestion. But too far, rather than improving complex passages, it begins to dissect the signal too much and make it too forward.

The Torii power supply has a 3.3 film cap related to the input tube circuit along with four electrolytics per channel. I started replacing the 3.3 with a Mundorf Supreme I had used for my speakers. With a clearer/faster bypass, it did all the right things, but I kept hearing a compressed thickness that was unnerving, the cap sounding intellectually correct, but not naturally so. I heard this same thing with Mundorf Supreme Silver Oil as speaker bypasses.

The 3.3 Supreme with a 0.1 Jupiter HT bypassing it in the Torii was quite good though....the HT's spacious texture and “sparkle” really bringing it out. But in this prominent position, I still heard a bit of that Supreme “thing.” Wanting to explore more caps, I replaced it with a Jantzen Silver Z cap. Being clearer/more transparent than the Mundorf, the Jupiter bypass was too much, so I traded it for a 0.1 Audyn True Copper Max. The Audyn was slightly warm in a more neutral and less characterful way, less "sizzly" while still having good balance, harmonics, definition, and textures. Nice.

Though I found Obligatos compelling, I could not make them work...too clear and hard on too much music, even when carefully tuned with more textured and spacious caps with better fine detail.

Like you, I also replaced connectors….IECs with fused Furutechs, Rhodium in the Torii and gold in the CSP3, WBT nextgen copper/gold RCAs all around, Cardas silver plated copper with a rhodium flash binding posts, TDK 2511 potentiometers, all notable individually and collectively.

I also replaced a few strategic resistors in the Torii to chill the signal intensity and open things a bit, and for the same reason, replaced 0.1 Jupiter Copper coupling caps with 0.082 Miflex Coppers, hoping reducing the value a bit might subtly tone down signal intensity/saturation. I liked the Miflex right off... rich and complex, but with a bit more definition. However, they were new. Burned in now, I need to compare the Jupiter Coppers directly and see who wins, but the Miflex are so good that comparison is not a priority. The flow has become easier, less pressurized from these changes, but I think equally, from using more transparent and faster connectors and potentiometers all around.

Anyway, I considered using Clarity TCs, or the Mundorf Films you chose to replace electrolytics, but the sound was so amazing from bypassing with film in the Torii and CSP3, I never went there. The tonal complexity from mixing decent bypasses is difficult to balance, but can be very, very good...perhaps an area to explore one day if you get an urge after burnin...good bypasses on the Mundorfs???

I talked with Steve a few times in this process, and he said he would not mess with the wires, but this is hard for me, having explored making cables a lot, and finding the wire used super influential. Knowing I could put the Mogami back in, I had been thinking of doing a similar thing Steve did for you, in my case, using Dave Cahoon’s (Zenwave Audio) Neotech silver/gold, or Neotech UPOCC silver, or a combination for signal wires, and making the shield with Neotech UPOCC Litz. Maybe next!

But, speaking of wires, my amp work is on hold for now, in the midst of serious IC exploration using different high quality wires, connectors, geometry, damping, etc…..amazing sound! Also demanding attention is integrating a Mac Mini server I have had, but that was transformed by an Operating System developed by Eric Hider (Tranquility DAC), and fast memory ...As I learn it, it appears to be truly amazing, blowing any idea of “just 1s and 0s” so far out of the water it is absurd.

Over 200,000 lines of Mac OS code removed, the 1s and 0s getting to the DAC appear to have seriously transformed my previously extremely good front end. I thought I had a good handle on digital, Decware tube implementation helping. But this sounds like a different level altogether, like a real blend of the good things of tape, and the good things of digital, and all this improvement created before the DAC!!! A lot like modifying Steve’s amps, the basic character can remain close, but refining the signal in all areas of subtle to very subtle qualities can create a vast change in facilitating musical immersion! It blows my mind, every change that stands up to careful listening making the sound the best ever.....and then it gets better, and better, and better...

I think this indicates how really good stuff has potential beyond itself. Like how good Decware amps are to begin with, but also, how much they can be refined with thoughtful and careful tuning that is verified by serious listening! Or how upgrading with a quality system component or cable can make other very good system/room components way better!



Archie, cant recall exactly, but I thought Steve was in on the development of Jupiter beeswax caps???
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #22 - 02/21/18 at 00:08:28
 
Quote:
Archie, cant; recall exactly, but I thought Steve was in on the development of Jupiter beeswax caps???


I just remember that when I ordered the ZP3 that there wasn't the option for the Jupiter caps and I had to ask for them (and pay extra, of course).
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #23 - 02/21/18 at 00:33:54
 
Awesome Jeff. .....look forward to seeing them soldered in with pics and you get to fire it up.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #24 - 02/21/18 at 01:35:22
 
Hi Will,
Thank you for sharing all that great information describing your capacitor "rolling" journey.  The dedicated effort it requires is obvious based on what you have detailed.  

I couldn't agree more that there is definitely a cause and effect phenomenon when it comes to replacing parts that change the sound signature, even though not directly connected to the signal path itself.  If the power supply didn't improve, or degrade, the resulting sound, there would be no point in bypassing or otherwise putting in R&D time to alter/improve the power supply chain.  

I will say though, it is what you described in your last post that makes me steer clear from this bypassing "trial and error" process.  It is a wormhole I do not have the time, skill (soldering) or patience to embark on.  The reason I selected the capacitors that I did was to create the effect of bypassing - overcoming the ESR and ESL shortcomings of electrolytic caps -without altering the stock topology.    

With regard to creating a new bypass network, what you did was no doubt a necessary and worthwhile effort.  It's just not for me.  And I imagine that each design and improvement that Steve makes follows a similar methodology and work flow of "placing and replacing" until a magic moment happens.  From what I understand of the process, bypassing is complex and the variables are seemingly endless.  So, rather than retain the slow electrolytics (47uF) and compensate for their shortcomings with lower value bypass film caps, I am hoping to increase speed by replacing them outright with film caps, not requiring bypass.  That is where the TubeCaps come in.  They are film, but designed to carry out the duties of the electrolytic cap in the power chain, but faster. This is a very unique and rare design.  

This will be a short and sweet trial.  If it works, it's a "win" and they stay in place.  If it doesn't work, then I am done and will wait for Steve to conduct his experiments with bypassing on the ZMA until he is happy with the results.  I will then have him perform the mod on my ZMA.

I totally agree with your statement about Decware amps.  They are designed to sound fantastic out of the box - and they certainly do!  But, they are also a great foundation for improvement for those who are able to invest time and capital into exploring what is possible.  That is something you have obviously taken advantage of and there is no doubt in my mind that your Torii MKIV is one of the best, if not the best, sounding Torii's out there.

Thank you so much again for sharing Will.  I really enjoyed reading this synopsis of your journey.  It was not only informative, but also very interesting - and inspiring for those more adventurous modders.  
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #25 - 02/21/18 at 02:22:37
 
No doubt Will. Your dedication and understanding is an informative read.

Archie, you're right, I do remember Steve stating the output tranny's with the ZMA are all that' and he is happy with them and their output. I would not want to have those replaced, due to cost.

Jeff, thanks for bringing your goal into focus and sharing it with us. As you stated if it works....it will be an affordable enhancement that will be so stellar for our ZMA's. If not? Steve pursuing his bypassing and sending to him will be my decision too.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #26 - 02/21/18 at 04:47:37
 
Quote:
perhaps an area to explore one day if you get an urge after burnin...good bypasses on the Mundorfs???


Great idea Will.  I think that makes a lot of sense.  The 47uF Mundorf TubeCaps will be really fast, but not as fast as a 0.1uF of the same or similar type - I assume.  I could possibly see myself dabbling in that territory down the road.  :)
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #27 - 02/21/18 at 06:30:08
 
Jeff,

I think your direction makes perfect sense. I almost bought the Tubecaps a few times, and the Clarity TCs (their interpretation of the same idea) a few more times, so I understand. Though painful, I think I would have to put in the Tubecaps first for some months of heavy play...to identify specifically what role they play in the new sound. Then, add the MLytic HP+s once the qualities of the Tubecaps are clear, giving a chance to see exactly how the HP+ compare with the Mallorys.

When I tried to read about bypassing, as usual, there were all sorts of opinions...bypassing presented as irrelevant, wrong, questionable, occasionally useful, and some liking it, but not being very clear in presenting why. I probably stopped looking too soon, but I could find very little useful, so just dug in.

I quickly found bypassing for fine-tuning speaker sound powerful. I think of decent bypasses as sound quality adjusting tools. When it works, the higher quality bypass cap seriously improves the other by adding its special character to the sound, including, but not limited to speed, integrating all aspects of its fine detail information and tonal qualities. Not always a good fit, and maybe I am lucky, but in most cases, using nice caps, the bypass cap can transform the one being bypassed, mixing the two cap's sonic traits.

This seems particularly powerful in the power supplies of my amps. For example, the electrolytic related to the input circuit (as best I can tell) in the Torii, for quite a while I bypassed with a .22 Mundorf ZN I had around (pretty neutral and nice for this) livened up by a .1 Jupiter HT. The characters of both bypasses were pretty balanced and obvious to me, literally mixing their traits. More recently, to recheck myself, I was running just the HT in that position, and it was lower key and nice in combination with bypasses I had in other positions. But I wanted more bite, clarity, and body. Adding value with decent caps punches things up and clarifies in the Torii or CSP power supply, but also I wanted to add a little definition to the bottom of the Jupiter and some body, while making its complex texture and highs less feathery, and also more complex. A more neutral, dynamic, and balanced Rike S-2 has nice body, definition, and texture, with a little less top-top. Putting these two caps together, both 0.1 uf, was like making a new cap that seems just right, combining the best of both, and making a cap you likely can't buy, but can create....very cool. For me, this combining of caps with complimentary traits, both two bypasses together, and spread around in different parts of the power supply, has been an enlightening tuning tool.

Bringing me to my thought about possibly bypassing the Tubecaps...They may be just right, but lets say they are really beautiful while being a little dark, and maybe you want a touch more speed, clarity and texture. I suspect if you then added a pretty solid, open and textured bypass, you may be able to bring this hypothetical Tubecap to a more complete level of sonic balance and excitement. And if you mix a few complimentary caps appropriate to what is needed, the added complexity of two might be even better....I agree though, it is ultimately trial and error. But with the right caps, and a little luck...can be somewhat seamless also.

This is what I have been having fun with.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #28 - 02/21/18 at 16:33:33
 
Quote:
When I tried to read about bypassing, as usual, there were all sorts of opinions...bypassing presented as irrelevant, wrong, questionable, occasionally useful, and some liking it, but not being very clear in presenting why. I probably stopped looking too soon, but I could find very little useful, so just dug in.


You aren't kidding Will.  I attempted the same approach to research this topic and it didn't take long to realize this method would lead to nowhere fast.  There was just too many strong views/opinions to cipher through, so determining fact from fiction became too daunting.  I gave up.  

Quote:
Bringing me to my thought about possibly bypassing the Tubecaps...They may be just right, but lets say they are really beautiful while being a little dark, and maybe you want a touch more speed, clarity and texture. I suspect if you then added a pretty solid, open and textured bypass, you may be able to bring this hypothetical Tubecap to a more complete level of sonic balance and excitement.


Great advice and I will certainly keep this in mind once these Mundorf's are in place, burned in, and fully understood.  

-----------

Going through the old ZMA development thread, I found this statement by Steve in one of the posts which is very relevant to the purpose behind my experiment.

Quote:
In a nutshell, we're talking about the speed of the power supply at given frequencies and combinations of frequencies.  The caps were so huge that below 120 Hz when used on the wrong output tap (which will happen in real life) and on worse case speakers, the bass lacked attack and control, although it was incredibly powerful and deeper than I've ever heard it.  I found bypassing it with equal quality electrolytic by F&T fixed the low bass problem but getting the values right is like designing a crossover.  It took two paralleled caps to fix both the low bass and mid bass.


So, my hypothesis is, these higher grade and alternatively designed power capacitors will immediately and further improve on what Steve accomplished when researching different cap compliments for the final stock lineup in the ZMA power supply chain.  These Mundorf's should be much faster and result in significantly less losses than the stock compliment.  Again, I am hoping they will add the speed and agility to handle any difficult scenario in music or equipment.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #29 - 02/21/18 at 18:22:09
 
Sounds good! If the film caps (Tubecaps) have a sound you love, changing to film may well do all you want!
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #30 - 02/21/18 at 19:01:39
 
Film = Speed

I have a competent gentleman here.... Unlike me Cheesy
If I bring him the parts and the details...it's a done deal.
I'd rather have Steve do it. All I can do is ask................
.......if it works?

If it takes till May to come to a conclusion, or you're floored right out of the gate Jeff......can't wait.

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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #31 - 02/21/18 at 19:01:50
 
In the middle of all this great tech conversation, would you mind if I ask how we define "speed?"  What is it exactly?  Based on your experiences from ZMA and TORII, I might start looking into my SE84UFO and TABOO mkIII and consider some cap upgrades!
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #32 - 02/21/18 at 23:08:55
 
Alper,

I hope more will give their thoughts, but I think of speed as quickness of all aspects of the signal rising and falling in and out of empty space. Part of dynamics, fast micro dynamics reflect "speed." Feeling of immediacy.... excitement of flawless attack and decay... natural flow of sound without restriction. Along with, and contributing to dynamics, clear and defined signal that is fully resolved without slurring seems to be a basis of speed, showing complex textures and air also. "Syrupy" might be opposite of speed.

Addition:

Another reflection of speed to me is when music sounds slower from a system adjustment. Along with fine detail information....ambient info, textures, space, etc, I find these really useful indicators in seeking/identifying a good signal. When the signal gets cleaner, more resolving, and faster, it sounds to me like it leaves more space between immediacy of attacks and faster onsets and more complete decays, the space causing the pace to feel slower.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #33 - 02/22/18 at 13:18:04
 
Great question Alper and I think Will answered it most eloquently. Make no mistake, the ZMA is special and I would not be in my 5th year with her, if she was not. The liquidity is off the charts with POWER. However, a little more geddy-up can be had. I would not call things slow or to lush.....having the long experience and sonic memory of my SE84CS and SuperZen CKC.....and the fact that I believe these enhancements for the ZMA (one or the other or both)....can match Decware Single Ended Speed. The Torii JR. has it....so we are going to damn well match that in the ZMA!

From Will & then Jeff (my quote button does not work):
"I suspect if you then added a pretty solid, open and textured bypass, you may be able to bring this hypothetical Tubecap to a more complete level of sonic balance and excitement.


Great advice and I will certainly keep this in mind once these Mundorf's are in place, burned in, and fully understood."

....................................Exactamondo.  


Hoping the Zen Master chimes in with a timeline of when he will tackle his bypass experiment/potential enhancement adjustment to the ZMA.

I'm doing one or the other (or both) as time will tell. For me personally, I've decided, Steve is the only one opening my ZMA up for surgery.....despite the fact that my Pelican Case (prestine-when it first came 01/22/2014)/housing my ZMA, .....then, subsequently, from only 7 hours to Peoria and 7 back....now looks like it went around the world twice (when I sent it to Decware last February for Meter & Resistor enhancements).
I might drive it to Steve by appointment.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #34 - 02/22/18 at 13:30:32
 
....and yes, I'm fully aware, even before Will mentioned it in his first post on the matter: The power supply overall and the big Red Mallory's (most likely/go read the ZMA Development Thread) contribute to the ZMA's overall sonic signal path. That is why maybe the Zen Master's Bypass magic alone....might be what we are seeking.

But first, I whole heartedly support Jeff's effort and hypothesis....the power cap full gig/alone....might accomplish the goal and retain the sonic path signature through Steve's topology via Jupiter caps whether reg Jups or Type II.

Or, as I just quoted above....and Will states (in which I fully respect Will's knowledge and vast evident experimentation).....it might need both enhancements.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #35 - 02/22/18 at 16:10:24
 
Can I live with her the way she is? Most certainly....great Amp. Plus, it ain't gonna be cheap, to do one or the other or both enhancements. I suppose one or the other is not to bad... .

Anyway, I'm glad this came to light:
~I started thinking about it with Steve's posted developments about the new Amps...bypasses in the fuel line
~Palomino made reference to the speed of LR's little puppy vs. the ZMA
~Steve made reference to it.....if more speed is desired (ZMA) and he will investigate....cause the Jr. has zip
~Then Jeff, harkened back to Vyokyong's Thread, in which I read again and I was curious way back then about enhancing my ZMA.

nough' said ~ fun stuff indeed.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #36 - 02/22/18 at 16:27:16
 
And if I wasn't as OCD and impatient as I am, I would never have even entertained such an idea   Grin

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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #37 - 02/22/18 at 21:38:50
 
Will, Stone,

Thanks for the definitions...  Now we are on the same page!  :)

Cheers,

Alper
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will
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #38 - 02/22/18 at 23:00:19
 
Alper. You are welcome. The subtitles of the language describing sonic perceptions are tricky so glad this helped.

Stone and Jeff,

I am really excited to hear how things shift Jeff! As you said, just the switch to decent film power supply over electrolytics is conceptually pretty powerful. At the same time, since the ZMA seems to overrule a lot of sonic impediments, presumably with its giant caps playing a big role in this, it will be quite interesting to see how much impact changing the electrolytics has. This is one reason I would have to try the Tubecaps first with the known Mallorys... to see how notable the changes are as well as identifying just what the qualities of those changes are. Hearing what the Tubecaps do on their own would also clarify potential (or lack thereof) for bypassing them...also if seems a good idea, how intensely to bypass.

Each of Steve's amps are different, but the ZMA and big monos are more different it seems with those giant caps, perhaps setting them apart in terms of how they respond to power supply modification????

Very excited Jeff!

Will


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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #39 - 02/25/18 at 16:59:28
 
Still waiting on one pair of the 47uF TubeCaps.  

Then I need to get in line with my audio tech.  He quoted me a 2 week wait time a few days ago  :-/

But maybe ill get lucky and he will be able to take it right away - this coming week - when I expect to have the parts that I need.  

Once my ZMA is away getting outfitted with the new caps, I am sending my Ultra pre-amp in  to Decware to have Steve upgrade it with new Type II caps.   But in doing so, he will need to do some re-engineering.  He expected it to be twice as resolute.  I’m pretty excited about that.  It is such a great and versatile pre-amp.  

Ill let you know as things progress with the ZMA.

Happy Sunday!
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #40 - 02/25/18 at 19:48:30
 
Not sure how I missed this thread until now, but very exciting indeed.  On notification now...
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #41 - 02/26/18 at 02:36:22
 
Jeff, I hope your guy is not too busy when your caps come!

Also, getting the Ultra tuned up and caps burned in, it will be cool to see how that improves everything else!

Here, working on the CSP3 and Torii together, improvements to one clearly refine the other.

Working to retain qualities that Steve carefully created, though all the mods that worked well with my amps refined everything, I found that musically balanced bypasses most influenced the qualities of speed, clarity, density, flow, etc....refining musical potential and resolving congestion. When right, this can transform the electrolytics, while retaining what they offer.

But with the caps I am using in my amps, in excess, bypasses can cause these same traits that make the music realer to begin to "dissect" the signal. This is related in part to excess value (too much of a good thing), but also on cap traits. More resolving, spacious, textured and dynamic caps with a slightly lower value can be more influential than duller caps with a slightly higher value. Or hard sounding caps of one value can blow the sound out, while more complete and complex ones of the same value can sweeten the sound.

This is what I was talking about in terms of whether you love the sound of the Tubecaps...Changing to film may do a lot of what you want, but will also impart the signature of that cap. All good if it feels right, but if not quite right, bypasses may help for fine-tuning.

I find that as resolution in quieter space increases, specific cap traits and how they compliment one another in the whole becomes even more critical.

For example, a bypass or coupling cap can clarify aspects of the signal, but if hard, also impart hardness. And being a particularly defeating trait for most of us as we try and bring our system/rooms into greater completeness, solving hardness to me is a primary consideration in tuning. The solution I seek is to better resolve fine detail and space, and associated, finer resolution, textures, ambient information, and tonal complexity. This can expand and make more complex the concentration of edge information that contributes to hardness. By more clearly and musically differentiating "the particles" that once created a harder edge, edge concentration can become textured, ambient, more natural. At the same time, finer detail brought out in balance, every other aspect of the signal can become more complex and seductive.

I think I started noticing this with tubes. To make "bright/hard/lean" recordings more listenable, most tend to choose "more forgiving" tubes. But I have found that a good balance of more resolving tubes, textured and spacious, with natural sounding smoothness and a touch of warmth, can help solve edge hardness without losing anything. This is a little counter intuitive if the assumption is that hardness is "too much detail." But if a tube set has good musical balance, and is more resolving, more fine detail and space can feather edges by integrating the edge with ambience, textures and air, better bringing out what comes before and after the once harder edge with more complex beauty. At the same time, edges now less dominant in perception, clearer space and greater resolution can also make attacks, textures and decays faster and more present, enhancing musical pleasure.

I think this is the same with caps, but caps, being earlier in the signal, if the cap compliment is musically more resolving, everything before and after benefits...from source, to cables and tubes, to speakers. By enhancing subtler detail and space, along with everything else that makes music beautiful before the tubes, the tubes get better. Equally, more musically resolved with balance and complexity, lesser recordings can become enjoyable.

But nothing is in isolation, reminding me of that old source truth. Whether a great source that is carefully set up to be fully resolving, or one that sounds balanced, but that can't bring out the fragile and nuanced information that makes music sound more real.....Either way it is pretty easy to forget how critical source is.  

Fine information not there to begin with, and worse, fine information transformed to not-so-good qualities like electronic and digital noise, glare, rigidity, smearing, muddle.....potential for deeper levels of improvements are seriously compromised.

And even with a very good source, if everything along the way does not protect and preserve the more fragile aspects of music the source offers, these sorts of amp refinements could be much less noticeable, refined, and beneficial. Whereas, if we can avoid damage to subtler information in emptier space, increasing resolution, ambient character and complexity, textures, air, finer definition, and all this while retaining tonal beauty and balance.....modifications can be quite obvious….for better or worse...but being able to hear them more clearly, hopefully more easily refined.

Eric Hider of DbAudioLabs gave me what I think of as a pretty priceless tool when I first got his Tranquility DAC...Listening for the qualities and completeness of decay as a simple indicator of the health of subtle aspects of the sound.

If it is there in the source, by setting a system/room up to carefully bring out the fragile qualities of decay, the rest of the signal will also benefit from clearer space and finer detail complexity. Then, reading decay alone while evaluating a change, be it cables, feet, settings, power caps, speakers....can help preserve the subtitles needed for authentic musical presentation throughout.

This has proven true for me countless times, fine detail in space improvements progressively creating a more resolving and revealing baseline that makes further changes more clear. It seems pretty solid historically for me, that if a change allows or enhances relatively complete natural complexity of fine detail and spaciousness, without compromising other musical qualities and balance, all aspects of the music can improve. This does not rule out adjusting for other qualities and balances, but it can help keep those qualities more refined and true. For me, these are really good things to keep in mind for evaluating system tuning.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #42 - 02/28/18 at 19:29:48
 

Just got to this thread after Stone mentioned it in the Decware development thread.

I've built some guitar amps where I thought I'd be awesome and throw money at fast, modern, high end caps. It pretty much doubled the cost of the amp, and I thought it would be fast, and chime and have deeper harmonics.

Boy was I wrong.

The best way to describe what my expensive experimentation sounded like....it was like a super sterile transistor amp. Super fast, but fast to the point of being unforgiving and making everything sound edgy and tiresome to the ears.

I do hope you stumble into a unicorn, but be aware that you can have too much speed. There is a balance where you have that lushness that's warm and tooby, but still sharp enough to give you PRaT and pull those micro-details out of the black.  I do hope you find that with these mods!
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #43 - 02/28/18 at 19:51:05
 
For sure LR!  One thing I have learned is everything we do comes with a risk. I have also learned that every situation is unique, and until you put your c@$& on the block and just do it, you will never really know if success or failure awaits.

For me, the risk is low. If it doesn’t work, it’s such an easy switch back to stock. I can probably sell the Mundorfs on the used market but if not, I’m not too worried about it.  If it was an irreversible modification, I would sucritinize the decision much more. But it’s not.

Worst case is I return it to stock and if Steve’s adventure in power cap bypassing is a success, then back to Decware she will go. If that too leads to failure, then I will continue to enjoy the incredible awesomeness this amp spews in its original format.

We shall see....

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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #44 - 02/28/18 at 20:04:48
 
Oh yeah LR>Steve makes the speed issue of too fast-quite clear in his reply #670 in the Development Thread. I'm glad he spoke and I posed the questions I did, because he mentioned previously in the Devel. Thread the ZMA specifically re-examining.

Jeff, exactly, 1) completely reversible...and once again, I applaud your experimentation.
2) "Worst case is I return it to stock and if Steve’s adventure in power cap bypassing is a success, then back to Decware she will go. If that too leads to failure, then I will continue to enjoy the incredible awesomeness this amp spews in its original format."

Spot on.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #45 - 02/28/18 at 23:28:07
 
aaaaaand....     I would not be attempting this with “standard” design film caps (regardless or quality) that are not designed to act alone as power capacitors.  Based on my findings, there are only two manufacturers creating high value film capacitors purpose-built as alternative (direct replacement) power capacitors - Mundorf being one of them.  And, by default, I have to assume the engineers at Mundorf understand the differences between film and electrolytic when designing capacitors with a power role as the primary assignment.  These are 47uF film capacitors rated at 600 volts!  Very A-typical.  Because this is a tit-for-tat direct replacement of the four stock electrolytics (4 out, 4 in), I’m less concerned about them being high-end or boutique, and most interested in their unique design and ability to execute a task for which film capacitors are categorically not designed to do.  

This will not quite be the same as taking a bunch of low farad rated film capacitors (not designed to act alone as power capacitors) and placing them in the same role as the stock electrolytics.  I understand films role in power bypassing.  These relatively large (47uF) film caps were birthed to act as, not in addition to, film capacitors in the power chain. So, definitely a different animal here.  

I fully understand that even though this looks great on paper, it could end up being an utter disaster.  I accepted the risk of a total investment loss in these new caps.  But, I also believe that these Mundorf TubeCaps have not been used in this role in a Decware ZMA (or possibly any Zen amp model) prior, which means until it is done we can only speculate on the results.  I will certainly share for anyone interested.  

Bottom line, it really is just a fun little experiment and I won’t get my feelings hurt if this side project tanks.  :)  

I certainly appreciate the words of caution LR.  Once they are installed and fully burned in, I will objectively listen.  If I get anything resembling the undesirable side affects you mentioned, then I will humbly abort and put that curiosity to bed.   I won’t get mad if you tell me, “I told you so!”  ;)

PS:  I think I would attempt to keep the large electrolytics (MLtyic HP+) in place and remove the TubeCaps if the sound is not to my liking.  Electrolytics have a life span.  It is based on time and temperature.  As the cap degrades over time, its performance changes and eventually they will need to be replaced.  No ZMA is immune.  I don’t have the specs on the large red Mallorys, but the Kemet’s have a 20,000 hour lifespan at 85C.  
Depending on your listening habits, that may be a very long time, but not forever.  And its performance over that 20,000 will inevitably change, but when it becomes audible is the question.  
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #46 - 03/01/18 at 00:07:16
 
Especially since Mundorf designed the TubeCap specifically to be used in the place of electrolytics in tube amps, should be interesting. On the other hand, a few reasons I went with bypassing electros:

1) I had a bunch of OK bypasses on hand and if they did not work, the amps would be the same as stock after pulling bypasses.

2) I was intimate with the amp sound using stock electrolytics, making any bypass changes easy to observe.

3) And the TubeCap and Clarity TC, $30 give or take for a 45-47 uF cap. Though they would very likely have refinements over most electros, a big cap at that price from good companies seemed unlikely to sound as refined as a $30 small value bypass.

I know the right combination of bypasses make a really nice improvement here, imparting the characters and refinements of each bypass cap on the electros, as well as doing good electro bypass things. Comparatively to just using the Tubecap, I can't say though, so I appreciate your checking it out Jeff, and looking forward to what you hear!
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #47 - 03/13/18 at 20:23:35
 
Hi Jeff,

figured I would take a temperature check and find out if you had things solder slinged in yet? Maybe, burning in right now too?

Re-read your post #45, from 2/28 and got excited about this experiment once again!

Those: "film caps were birthed to act as, not in addition to, film capacitors in the power chain. So, definitely a different animal here."

Smiley
....just kickin it, this afternoon with my Caintuck design 15" Alpha OB & modified Adagio's.......ZMA of course.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #48 - 03/15/18 at 02:19:08
 
Hi Stone,
To update you on things, the amplifier was placed in the hands of my vintage audio tech on Wednesday of last week.  At that time, he was upfront and honest in saying he would not be able to start on the work until mid next week, which means today.  

He has his marching orders and knows what needs to be done.  I hope that he will have it ready for pickup by this same time next week, but we shall see.  Once I hear more, I will report back.  

But the good news is, the ball is in motion and the work will be done.  My impatient self just hopes sooner rather than later   Smiley

Thanks for checking in!  More to come...

In the mean time I am enjoying the company of my Torii MKIV.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #49 - 03/15/18 at 13:47:21
 
Great Jeff! ......look forward to more to come.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #50 - 03/25/18 at 16:19:53
 
Well, the ZMA is back in the stable and new caps are burning in.  Obviously not ready to fully comment, but three things were immediately apparent.  

#1) I did not destroy the ZMA in this process...  Hallelujah!!  
#2 & #3 to come later.  But I will say, these caps are not coming out.  No way, no how.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #51 - 03/25/18 at 19:08:27
 
Nice!
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #52 - 03/29/18 at 17:27:49
 
I deleted a post from yesterday....because I'm rethinking this..... .

I do look forward to your posts Jeff....I'm just apprehensive about actually doing it. I have a competent soured to do it...however, I might keep my ZMA as is and turn my attention to an UFO Rachel. I don't like the current stock/& going the way of the Dodo bird - of 6P15P's and reg tubes. Having a Rach' gives me Pentodes back in Triode...plus, the mighty nuanced ZMA.

Jeff....but still, look forward to your next post about your mod. I have obviously been intrigued since the beginning of this Thread... .
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #53 - 03/29/18 at 17:57:05
 
Fully understand Stone.  And to be quite frank, I don’t think I would recommend it for your ZMA - or any ZMA still under warranty.  This has nothing to do with the mod itself, and everything to do with voiding your lifetime warranty, and preventing any future upgrades Steve designs for this amp.

That being said, I am pretty astounded by what my amp is doing with these caps.  The bass improvement is pretty shocking.  I would say the density of the sound improvement overall is immediately noticeable.  But the mid-bass and bass improvement is undeniable in my opinion.  It is ballsier, tighter and more dynamic.  As a matter of fact, I had a frightening moment when I first fired up the ZMA with the new mod.  The bass sounded awful.  If was bloated and overstated.  My stomach sank as I was certain I turned my beloved ZMA into a paper weight.  Luckily, only after a few minutes of agony, I realized I had the ZROCK engaged.  I switched the ZROCK to bypass and the sound became glorious.  

I have over 50 hours on the amp and what I have determined is, with these new caps the ZMA is capable of leaching out every drop of goodness from solid recordings in a way it was not able to prior.  This is true to the extent that with great recordings, the ZROCK generally make the ZMA sound worse.  However, bad recording on the ZMA sound really bad - moreso than before the mod.  And with bad recordings, the ZROCK is invaluable.  I will essentially be using the ZROCK as it was originally intended, that is “as needed” rather than all of the time.  The ZMA is just too transparent to be able to use it on most well recorded material.  

From my tour of reference material, the imaging is better, both front to back, and side to side. In my system, I always felt the Torii MKIV had the edge on the ZMA in this department.  Not anymore!  Instrument separation is vastly improved.  I have purposely been throwing some incrediblly dynamic material with extreme transient demand and this amp has not faultered.  It is damn impressive!  And not just in the lower frequencies.  The highs sparkle.  The detail in this frequency range is even more revealing and transparent.  

So far, with respect to the SPEED I was intending, and hoping to improve....    I don’t believe anyone with a ZMA would argue that that amp hasn’t transcended in this regard.  
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #54 - 03/29/18 at 18:18:15
 
Sound advice Jeff, thanks.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #55 - 03/30/18 at 17:28:58
 
Ive got  KT88’s back in.  

One other thing that has become apparent with late night listening is the amp is more detailed at lower volumes.  I still like to crank the amp up when disturbing the sleep of others in not a concern.  But at night when I have to keep the volume lower, the perceived detail and complexity of the music is improved with these new caps.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #56 - 04/07/18 at 18:29:31
 
At this point, I have done enough listening to form my conclusion on this modification project.  While I spent about $1700 in various upgrades (connections, wiring, Type II caps, etc.) to my ZMA just prior to this power capacitor experiment, the marginal improvement from that effort is a mere fraction compared to the evolution in sound this power capacitor modification accomplished.  

I am still floored by the difference.  The improvements in imaging, detail, and realism put this ZMA in a new class.  I have to rename it “ZMA2”.   It cost me about $680 in parts and another $300 in labor, but my satification with its SQ has doubled.  So, the ROI was more than recovered.  Honestly, I am still shocked by what I am hearing.  Not subtle.  And as far as scrapping the six 47uF electrolytics for the Mundorf TubeCaps, I can detect no apparent consequences or losses - only marked improvements (coupled with the large capacitor replacement).

Witnessing what can be accomplished by tinkering with the power chain in this amplifier, there is no doubt in my mind whatever route Steve decides to take with his approach, it will yield a marked improvement in the amplifier’s performance.  How will it compare to the performance of my amplifier?  Who knows.  The large 4400uF capacitors I installed were 4 times the cost of the stock ZMA capacitors which are no match when it comes to ESL and ESR performance ratings.  These are Mundorf capacitors with design and testing specific to audio.  Even with keeping the 47uF electrolytics and bypassing them with film caps, there still may be improvements to be had replacing the large caps with a higher quality, better performing option.  But they are not cheap.  Just something to think about.  

But I still assert that if your amplifier is under warranty, I would not make any moves until Steve has had an opportunity to perform his R&D on the power supply chain.  This amplifier has more to give, I am certain of that.  So, if you could achieve those gains from the “factory” and keep the valuable lifetime warranty intact, that is the route I would absolutely consider first.  

Without a shred of uncertainty, what I am getting out of this amp now has cemented my promise to never part with my beloved ZMA - of course until I must hand it down to some worthy recipient when that time in life comes.  

Well, that’s a wrap folks!
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #57 - 04/07/18 at 18:51:27
 
Great news Jeff!
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #58 - 04/07/18 at 19:06:51
 
Jeff,

Thanks for sharing your news on the ZMA modifications.  While I am enamored with the 25th Anniversary amplifier Steve has built, I really love my ZMA.  I hope you will provide Steve an opportunity to hear the modified amp and let him decide if an upgrade path is warranted from a business stand point.

If the Mundorf capacitors and additional electrolytics bring the ZMA close to the anniversary amp, that would be wonderful.  I for one would definitely be interested in purchasing this upgrade from Decware, if priced around $1K or so.  

At this juncture in life, it's just hard for me to justify having two amps for my dedicated two-channel system.  Anyway, just wanted to share my thoughts FWIW.  Enjoy your modified ZMA.

HK
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #59 - 04/07/18 at 20:23:20
 
I read ya HK. I can't justify another amp in my Listening Room. I have grad presents to dole out to my deserving daughter (High School) and Son (Stanford).

However, as Jeff stated about my warranty and I want the creator to do it - if he see's fit for it and not placebo, in our ZMA's. I look forward to reading about the 25th and the Mono's 325. I can wait till Steve explores the ZMA and at 1k or so for the deemed enhancement - I agree.

.....and from reading Jeff's most recent post....I doubt it is placebo. Jeff's ears on Reel to Reel with our ZMA and the Tape Tour.... I had in my Room....I look forward.....this ZMA of ours.....Special.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #60 - 04/08/18 at 14:18:14
 
......I should have had Steve add Balanced inputs when I had her in last year for backlit meters & bullet proof resistors. ....so, come late summer or fall and Steve feels the ZMA could benefit from an power supply and/or bypass enhancement.....I'm springing for the XLR's too. The voltage output/RCA, BY DESIGN of my ZDSD drives into my ZMA exquisitely. However, I want to drive some other DAC'S/Pre, DIRECTLY into my ZMA via Balanced. (ZBIT, has not been forgotten providing adjustability. However, I will have adjustability in the DAC'S analog domain output, then, running through the added XLR gain/direct to ZMA as I prefer).

Being a Kimber Select Dynamic contrast & Tonal color's member/I could never go back to anything else.....I need to budget for too (XLR IC)!

Till then, let's get this 25th, Mono 3/25th & CSP3 upgrade done DAMMIT Grin, so I can get my ZMA in for my enhancements/late this year.




Listening Room:



Room Treatments from Michael Green & my Home Brew


Sony as Transport (DVP-NS57P)
Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax IC ~.5 meter


Shunyata Research Zitron Alpha Digital Power Cord to ZDSD {Significant}


Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder
***************************************************************
W/Steve's Output Transformer's/kicking to the Curb quite a few superb DAC'S
***************************************************************
(@ -20 Ref Level, 0.0 Input volume and @ 16/192)



WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030 ~.75 meter


Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
~BIASED at *56* mA~
NOS/Platinum/Mullard E188CC/7308's in my A12 an B12 Input positions Cryogenic~NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC for Inverter Tubes~NOS RCA 0A3's & matched Quad/Tung-Sol KT66's or 6P3S-E's




***************************************************
Kimber Select KS6063 Speaker Cable 8ft WBT-0681-Ag Spades
***************************************************



Acoustic Zen Adagio - Black Pearl (Modified)
.....enjoying from 8 ohm ZMA Taps


Caintuck Audio Eminence Alpha 15" OB BASS Unit
at 43Hz, with my Velodyne CHT 130 watt plate amp and 0 degree phase
Plate Amp....regen'd clean ~ plugged into P3
Auralex Subdude (a must)
(NOTE: Only needed when the recording calls for...Open Baffle Bass has been the best integration I have witnessed when needed and called on)







Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
(Gutted: 3kHz/18dB/Octave, Linkwitz/Riley Crossovers....with all crappy parts = gone)


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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #61 - 04/08/18 at 17:00:14
 
I think the balanced inputs would be a great feature on your ZMA Stone.  I do remember Steve discussing the superiority of the balanced inputs on the ZMA when he connected his Otari tape machine while voice the amp.  It would be an absolute worthwhile investment I am sure.  I did consider it at one point, particularly when I sent it back last the have the laundry list of upgrade parts installed.  But with my Ultra being unbalanced, I could not figure out a way I could practically use the balanced inputs the way my system is laid out.  Turned out fine as Steve used the balanced input holes to mount the WBT RCA input jacks.  

With your balanced outputs on your other sources, it will be a hoot to tinker with the various characters each one will present through the ZMA.  Fun stuff!

And nice to read Steve’s journey as he discovers more applications for the 25th Anniversary mod.  I feel there are several looking for that level of improvement on their higher wattage Decware amps.  And as I stated prior, I know he will find a suitable solution for this ZMA.  For the sake of your enjoyement, may that come sooner rather than later!  ;)

Until then, keep on, keepin’ on.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #62 - 04/08/18 at 17:45:53
 
I remember asking Steve about adding balanced jacks to my ZMA but he thought the ZBIT was a better way to go.  Of course, with the high dollar interconnects Stone uses, that may not be the case always.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #63 - 04/09/18 at 17:26:52
 
Jeff, yes, ...when at Decware, I think it will be a nice addition/option/XLR inputs~for my balanced outputs from other sources, to have in my ZMA.

Arch, I was fortunate to get the KS6063 to go with my KS1030 when I did. I sold a bunch of stuff/audio related in 2015 and Joe, at the Cable Co. knew I had KS3033 for 15 years in my System and I also owned from Joe the KS3035. He had a mint/demo pair of the 6063's I could not refuse to try (and at the price we settled on). After a comparison of my 3033 vs. my 3035 vs. the 6063....KS6063 won! Incredible combination; the KS1030 & KS6063's with my Decware. I'm spoiled, ...and anything else I try falls short.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #64 - 05/08/18 at 14:44:39
 

I'm interested in your progress, Jeff, and I'm really glad the caps didn't speed it up to the point of being harsh. Knowing what caps you used I wasn't expecting that - I said what I said previously just as an anecdote. Sometimes you *can* have too much of a good thing.

I posted when those giant caps went on sale a year or two ago, and was tempted to pull the trigger - but these big red nuclear power plant caps were difficult for me to give up!

I'm still tempted to do this upgrade, I'm just kind of concerned that if I do these mods, and Steve comes up with something different, it's just going to be gutted for whatever he comes up with.

I can't really afford to do this mod twice...hell, I can't afford to do it once.  :)  
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #65 - 05/08/18 at 15:53:41
 
Yeah LR, those big Mundorf Mylitics are pretty amazing caps, but I can't say that those alone would do the trick - only because I didn't do my modification in stages.  The (6) .47uF TubeCaps are even more impressive than the Mylitic's from an engineering perspective, in my opinion.  

However, Steve may not have a problem with the large Mylitic's in place when doing his mod, as they are electrolytic and while much better performers than stock, not a huge departure in topology.  

I can't tell you how happy I am with the outcome of this power chain mod on my ZMA.  Dollar-for-dollar, the best addition/change in the amplification department, aside from purchasing the ZMA in the first place.  

But like I told Stone, with Steve intent on reworking this area of the ZMA, I can't say it makes sense to invest make any moves at this point.  Although, I still think that replacing the stock large caps with the Mylitics might still offer improvements, giving Steve even a stronger base to start with on your amp.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #66 - 05/08/18 at 16:24:15
 
Yes, I was so torn.....having Jeff PM or email the mod pics, et al. Go ahead here and have done.

However, not just to keep my warranty.....I want the Zen Master's journey with her...and maybe those resistor's in the 25th Thread Steve speaks of (as an option/if applicable), can end up in the ZMA (the limited quantity he can obtain)? Or, a better alternative-meeting diminishing returns.

What other discoveries, he might implement (as I eluded to over in the 25th Thread as well)?  
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #67 - 06/29/18 at 06:54:15
 
Got my ZMA back from the shop on Monday.  Replaced the (4) 330K signal path resistors with Shinkoh tantalum non-magnetic resistors as well as the the (2) 100K and (2) 82K plate resistors with Audio Note tantalum non-magnetics.  Finally, I replaced the 330ohm output tube grid resistors with 2W versions of the Audio Note tantalums.  

Been burning all of these babies in with all of my usual reference/test material since I got her back Monday afternoon   Shocked

Pics of the 2W resistors, before and after...


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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #68 - 07/01/18 at 01:03:00
 
Sounds fun Jeff. I look forward to hearing about these highly respected resistors burnt in!

Seems we are a similar track. Resistors are amazingly influential little things, so wanting to get to know them I finally bought quite a few popular samples to compare, though didn't go there on the new version Audio Notes. Probably should have gotten a few.

My last resistor foray was basic, maybe a year and half ago in the Torii. I tried Takman metal and carbon films, Kiwame carbon film, Arcol carbon, and PRP metals, .5 and 1 and 2 watt. I like the carbon caps Steve uses, but wanted to see what other resistors could do. The areas I was working then, stock metal films were nicely upgraded with TC50 PRPs from soniccraft, quick and easy. Jeff at soniccraft said they are better sounding than more typical TC100s, and having done a little test a long time ago, I recall agreeing. I find the PRP a straight forward and natural sounding metal film resistor. The rest from that test I found interesting, but more demanding due to having more obvious “signatures,” and whether I liked them depended on location and often on mixing them in series to get value while combining sonic traits. But the PRPs were innocuously clear, dynamic, extended and neutral, with a smooth and not overstated warmth… easy.

Then the last few months, having improved CSP3 connectors and volume, found bypass synergy for the power supply, and bypassed the coupling caps, I finally dug in to wires (signal and power), a challenging balancing act, ending up with variations of OCC silver, pure silver and copper, and OCC silver gold. Then I started in on resistors, the CSP3 a good place to explore being simple and lightweight!

I now have a small selection of Shinkohs, two types of Amtrans, two types of Caddocks, Vishay naked Z-foils, TDK 2W metal, and PRP along with the Takmans and Kiwames I found interesting, but generally a little too “flavored.” Speaking of which, .75 Amtran's Carbon Films are quite “flavored” too, but pretty compelling in moderation. Quite warm, even dark in the wrong settings, or with too many, the balancing toward bass can cause the top to sound "rolled off." But with more open company, they show really nice fine detail complexity in space, so far making their dark character worth adjusting around. We'll see. I wonder (hope) the bass, fine detail, and all will more fully resolve as it does with many things with burnin.

Experiments are mostly the same resistance, a Mills 12W replaced a Dale 6.5W between the 2 - 47uF power caps, .5W carbons changed to .75W Amtrans Carbon Films (AMRG) to the input grids, .5 carbon to .75W Caddock MK-132s to the input plates (also wired to G2 of the output tubes), an 840R series combo (PRP 510R + 330R Shinkoh) from input cathodes to ground (was 920R marked metal film measuring 900). I wanted to open the input tube a touch and get in the clear and complex Shinkoh sound with resistors I had, so made one. 2W TDKs replaced .5W carbons to the output tube P2s (also the coupling caps), a Takman 1W 160R metal film replaces parallel .5W 330R carbons (165R) between output tube cathode and plate, and a Shinkoh .5W 12K replacing a 10K carbon between the silver/gold output signal wire and the WBT nextgen copper/gold RCAs out. I seem to like a little more resistance there than stock. I think I do like slightly bigger wattage resistors, and maybe much bigger (2W) at least with those I am trying, but not sure yet on this one. With wires, bigger can clarify and solidify, but within a given balance can shift things toward bass also, and this seems a factor here too. Lots of variables.

Anyway, with a few of them having only 10 hours on them, others with just 30 or so, and some ~50, they sound good. Though clearly green, better in ways than previous subtler departures from stock that I thought were improvements. Too dark/dense for me now, but we'll see in time. As with bypass caps, I think I am finding that a synergistic blend of nice resistors may more fully give complex beauty than one or two. This may not be the ultimate, but a good way to explore the traits of a number of choices. Once they settle I will do some resistor rolling.

First impressions as these went in….the Amtrans, quite warm/dark, spacious and complex; Caddock 132, BIG, deep and dynamic, a little dark...too pressurized and dense at first, but intersting enough to want to clarify with others; TDK also big, but seemed neutral and transparent in this postion; Takman metal, not liking it as much as PRP in general, in this cathode to plate job it is pleasantly warm and nicely complex; Shinkoh, really nice balance, space and micro detail...revealing and transparent, making all the rest sound more complete...But then...they all need time I suspect to really hear them. The Amtrans Carbons are pretty big resistors, in an aluminum tube, and with gold plated copper wires...a lot or material, and they have refined over a couple weeks. As I listen today the blend is becoming more clear, complex and defined, together creating a nice balance that I suspect/hope will get a lot better.

Anyway, since you have moved to resistors, thought this might be intersting.

BTW, we have speculated about the efficacy of film power caps versus bypassed electrolytics. Trying Jenson electros in the Torii now, clearly not all electros are the same, nor are bypass caps, or no doubt film power caps. And combinations of bypasses and any of these clearly change the story in a big way....making it a little tricky to guess for me. Soooo, since the CSP3 has only two 47uF electrolytics, I decided to try and settle the questions to some degree. I got two Mundorf electros (same look and case as Jensons) to try in place of the stock F&Ts. And I got some 45uF Clarity TC films to try also, though they are bigger than spec, and with the bolt connectors, bigger! So I hope I can figure a way to get them in there. I will start burnin on the caps with my Frybaby to make the evaluation easier. They always need music time to sort out, but the burnin rig gets them through the hardest parts of burnin.

So I am hoping to try the Mundorf with the bypasses I now like, the Clarities by themselves, and Clarities with bypasses.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #69 - 07/04/18 at 01:44:12
 
Happy to say that what I considered darkness has mostly transformed into dynamic and speedy body with nice frequency range and rich detail complexity. Now with ~35-40 hours on the least burnt in of these resistors, roughly 55-60 on the Amtrans Carbons, and over 75 on the Mills, this combination is becoming quite nice indeed. I still hear a little darkish dullness in the bass/mid-bass, but feel pretty sure this is from remaining lack of burnin. Likely the Amtrans (which seem to need the most burnin) and the Caddocks, judging from how they sounded initially, are finally resolving. Now my guess is that the initial "pushy" quality of the Caddock is transforming into more spacious dynamics and speed with nice density, and I wonder how colored I would find the Amtrans individually at this point? Likely still warm, but maybe not over the top for me. Don't know, but they are doing nice things together now with quite nice warmth including excellent fine detail. I guess I am hearing the Jenson electros in the Torii too, resolving bass seeming to be more noticeably slow during burnin.

But what I am hearing implies that resistors can fit with your thread title, "An Exercise in SPEED." And why not. If they do their thing with less flow damage...by comparison, with better materials, design and implementation, resistors could have better signal flow, complexity, and frequency response. Even with the same resistor, there seem to be a number of folks who think bigger ones, with more of all they are made of, can sound better. I suspect this is a reason you tried some 2 watts, and one reason I did. More listening needed, but I feel confident saying my CSP3 is a bit faster and more dynamic, clearer and more complete/complex with this resistor combo. I am also pretty confident now they will become more transparent, tighter, and reveal more complexity with more hours on them.

Speculation as I am not doing AB tests with burnt in resistors, but based upon initial impressions of each resistor and the combination, and how the whole sounds now, I am guessing they are like caps... depending on what they are made of and how they are made, some resistors just take longer to reveal potential.
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #70 - 07/05/18 at 18:22:27
 
Hi Will,
Great information.  It has been fun following your resistor journey in this thread.  So far, my experience with the tantalums I have installed confirms what you are saying in terms of how flow and mitigation of signal degradation will in fact amount to improvements spanning multiple categories, speed being one of them.  

Most pronounced for me is the amount of finite detail in the music.  I would say that more nuances which were previously below the noise floor have now risen above and are quite noticeable.  It is stunning and even startling at times.  One of the most significant improvements in my ZMA with this resistor swap is in the overtones.  With piano and strings in particular, the harmonic series is longer and lingers more than it ever has.  It is beautiful.  Even reverb and resonance takes on a different life.  Incredibly present subtleties and nuances is the most notable improvement out of the gate.  

I am going to try some non-magnetic, non-inductive Mills wirewound resistors at the input & inverter tube plates in lieu of the Audio Note tantalums.  Wirewound are the best for noise since they are not susceptible to contact or shot noise.  Since these Mills are non-inductive, they won't suffer from the typical high-frequency handicaps of lesser/traditional wire wounds.  And if they suck, I switch 'em back.  

And you are exactly right Will on my 2W resistor choice for the control grid of the output tube.  It only requires a 1/2 Watt but on those Audio Note tantalums, 2W is often placed due to improved sound quality.  

Keep us posted as you continue the journey and Ill do the same.  Looking forward to more updates as they continue to burn-in.  

On your previous post, you picked up some 47uf Mundorfs to try in place of the F&Ts.  I was hoping you would try the TubeCaps un-bypassed so we have another opinion here on these caps  :)  There's always another time...



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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #71 - 07/06/18 at 06:41:43
 
Actually, I am staying put with these Shinkoh and Audio Note tantalums for the time being.  They are just doing it for me at the moment and I need more time with them.  

Today I solved an annoying issue I was having with a subtle ground loop after the 4-pole rewire of my Mlytic caps.  It was not affecting the noise floor, but rather adding some content volume, low level "buzz."  Now that it is gone, my listening experience has just ramped up another notch.  It was really only bothering me a really low listening volumes as it was so subtle it was inaudible at moderate volume levels, but I knew it was there and my OCD wouldn't let me just forget about it. Smiley  

These tantalum resistors are impressive so far.  Need more time to fully burn 'em in though.  

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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #72 - 07/07/18 at 02:07:20
 
Sounds like those resistors are doing beautifully, the sound even now implying they are great resistors. Your caps seem likely to be resolving still also, so makes sense to let everything burn in and enjoy! I had the feeling the Shinkohs are special, and the ANs being based on them, your initial choices may well be exactly right!

My resistor complex is still opening and clarifying and becoming amazing. Like yours, the fine detail complexity and spacial information is really gorgeous.

I recently posted in another thread how fine detail and space are primary evaluation tools for me. Though this was always important to me, when I got my Tranquility DAC some time ago, Eric Hider taught me more. When they were developing the Tranquility, they explored loads of iterations of layout, caps, wires, connectors, damping, clocks, chips, solders, etc, and found that specifically reading decay, harmonics, ambience etc...was a relatively easy first step to see what was worth exploring further....not to mention how beautiful the music can become with this information present and in balance, and what was missing when it wasn’t!

I have found this invaluable as I do modifications. It appears that if the fragile fine information is better, other parts of the signal are generally less damaged also. Not perfect necessarily, as a cap (or whatever) may be good at nuanced fine detail, but lacking in other areas... But if the micro detail and micro dynamics are not there in a clean setup, you know quite quickly if a new part is truncating, masking, or simply not able to reveal all that is possible.

Then synergy. As I waited for my “signal” resistors to wake up, I tried (for maybe the 10th time) a resistor between the CSP3 IEC ground and the nearby connection node where the ground cap and main ground wire from the rest of the CSP3 circuits meet. I got this idea from Steve's CSP3 mod. Not being very techy, I may have this wrong, but it seems like adding resistance to this primary path to ground may power up everything a bit? Sounds that way. I tried a 10R Xicon 5W like Steve used, and found it created too much density for me, but the clarification and solidity were compelling. Then I tried a 6R2, then a 3R. Pretty close now, but the lower value Xicon sound was too tinselly/distorted for me.

So I tried a Mundorf M-cap Supreme 3R3 I had used on my speakers. Cut off the leads and soldered on soft/pure 20 gauge silver leads and Wow...nicely solid and refined...smoother, bigger, not lacking definition, but also having a bit much of what I hear with a lot of Mundorf things, a sort of "affected" "warmth" and smoothness that to me overly emphasizes "smooth warmth." The best of them I have are Silver Oil Supreme caps, and they are good at fine detail, but I still think they need help to more fully reveal fine detail and space. But probably more, what I think of now as the Supreme density gives a thickened quality to the mids and mid bass, tending to "mask" fine detail. So the very refined, but not quite my style Mundorf M-resistor came out too (again!!!).

But also, even a cleaner 3R3 may be too much in my arrangement of mods. Though exploring similar ideas and approaches, Steve and I ended up with different combinations of parts, and I am guessing I had already increased density and clarity from connectors, wire, power supply bypass choices, etc. And perhaps most influential, to tighten, balance, and solidify the Jupiter HT coupling caps, and to get a bit more clarified punch, I decided to try bypassing the 0.47 Jupiters with 0.1 Jantzen Sliver Z-caps. I think this combination has held up as "a truly great cap" in every iteration of the CSP3 I have explored since the Jantzens went in about a year and a half ago. They contributed a lot to signal coherence, density and balance while integrating open fine detail of the HTs.

So at this point the primary ground resistor is overstated for my CSP3 configuration, though I expect to try more, perhaps smaller value Mills or Ohmites. BTW, the 12 W Mills I put in the power supply did seem to clarify things nicely on first impressions. I have an Ohmite Gold to try there, and also some Mills and Ohmite Golds to compare to the Dales currently powering the power tubes cathodes.

So this is about resistors, but I told this part of the story in part to explain why I have been reticent to try the Mundorf Tube Power caps. That said, I am happy to find I like the Silver Oils bypassing the CSP power supply, and I did not love them in speakers. And the regular Supremes I tried in the Torii power were better there than in speakers too, though I was still relieved to replace them...subtler, but still that "Mundorf thing." The Silver Oils are still in the CSP3 and they are bypassed by a 0.01 Mundorf Evo Silver/Gold Oil that seems to be sticking too. These experiments help me think more positively about trying the Mundorf Tube Caps, especially if I can't fit in the 45uF Clarity TC films when the time comes! Knowing me, I may need to try both anyway! Toward the end of ultimate sound, this is a less costly place to explore with just two 47uF caps rather than 8 in the Torii! And your impressions are compelling!

Don't know if it will work, but I will try my Frybaby2 on resistors. Though I was hoping otherwise, enough people serious about resistor exploration seemed to think 100 hours or so is necessary for several nice resistors. I am reluctantly agreeing at this point. But I am trying too many types and sizes at once to clearly comment. And some resistors, like .5W PRPs, seem to adapt quickly compared to some of the bigger, more complex ones I am trying.

All that said, the sound today is becoming pretty incredible. It started to really wake up yesterday evening, and now...exciting! Guess the pokier resistors are coming in (and the Torii power caps?) ….immediacy, textures, space, amazing clarity across the spectrum without hardness, at least right now!@#$%^ ...Complex clarity and speed have been primary all along, but now it is starting to shake me up!
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #73 - 09/09/18 at 02:35:16
 
I posted this in another thread but feel it is relative to this thread, which was the beginning of my ZMA modification journey....  

With much needed influence from Wil and BonnyA, last week I decided to finish the enhancement project and move forward with power supply bypass caps.  I have the amazing 47uF Mundorf TubeCaps installed and wanted to follow Steve's lead and further bypass those caps.  I used the same values as BonnyA, .47uF and .1uF caps.  Due to the size of the TubeCaps, I wasn't sure I could find room for these bypass caps. It was close.  There was one space left on each side where they fit like a glove.  it took a little Tetrus skill but I found a great spot.  

The bypassing has further enhanced the high frequency detail and speed, as well as another slight step in lowering the noise floor.  These bypass caps made a noticeable improvement and they are not even close to burning in (the caps I used came with a 350 hour burn in recommendation).  

All in all, time and money well spent!  ...the icing on the cake  :)
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #74 - 09/11/18 at 17:03:06
 

Jeff,

I noticed in your resistor upgrade you called out the four control grid resistors as 330K when you meant 330 ohms.

Steve
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Re: An Exercise in SPEED
Reply #75 - 09/11/18 at 17:10:37
 
Steve,
Yes, typo on my part.  Thanks for clarifying that.  Luckily I purchased the 330 Ohm resistors, not 330K Smiley
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