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ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black (Read 904 times)
atran1234
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ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
05/13/18 at 07:55:10
 
Hi, I'm currently running an Ortofon 2M Black on a VPI Prime that's going into a ZP3. The sound level coming from my ZP3 feels significantly lower than my CD source at 2V so I did some quick research and stumbled upon this website which does the gain/voltage in/voltage out math for you.

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-gainloss.htm

According to this website's calculation, 5mV (the output voltage of the Ortofon 2M Black) at 43 db gain of the ZP3 gets to something like 0.7V of output voltage. This really helps explain that I really needed to crank up my CSP2+ gain, which is fine but the hum also gets significantly higher as well.

Has anyone also observed this behavior with the ZP3 and Ortofon 2M Black? Just wanted to make sure that I'm not missing anything / my ZP3 is working the way it's intended to work.

I also tried using a ZSTAGE to increase the voltage coming from the ZP3 before it gets to the CSP2+ but no luck - still a ton of hum and noise...

Thanks!
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mark58
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #1 - 05/13/18 at 13:00:31
 
You are correct.  I have never done the math but I too have a significant difference between a CD/SACD player and my ZP3 in both my systems.  It is compounded by the fact I use 5751 tubes instead of 12AX7 tubes...the 5751 tube has a gain factor of 70 while the 12AX7 has one of 100%. In my primary system with a Torii MK IV and CSP3, this is not an issue but in my second system with a pair of 2.3 watt/channel Monoblocks from 2008 it is.  I rarely play LPs in the second system but when I do, no matter how I adjust things, there are times I see the OA3s dancing...flickering, that means I'm at or near clipping.  I have an old Audiotechnica Cart in the second system and don't know the specs but in the primary system I use a Rega Exact 2 Cartridge with Output of 6.8 - 7.2mV.  Just another thing to live with....Mark.

My speakers are Zu Audio "Souls" at 99 dB in the second system and Decware HR-1s at 92.5 dB in the Primary system.  Both systems have CSP3s and ZROCK IIs.

In regards to Hum...none in the second system and Transformer hum in the second that isn't bothersome once the music is playing.  There are multiple posts on how to reduce hum on the site and some from Steve on the topic...do a search.
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"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Tripwr1964
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #2 - 05/13/18 at 13:17:16
 
I had the 2m blk with my zp3 and didn't find it all that exciting.

also had the 2m blue at 5.5 mV that mated very nicely with zp3.  little higher voltage makes a ton of difference.
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pursuitofnow
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #3 - 05/13/18 at 16:07:51
 
I use a 2M black into the zp3 then into a zstage with the knob at about 3 o'clock and love the sound I'm getting. Very full, dense, etc. No hum at all.

I run my digital side with a zrock2 set at 1 o'clock and can switch between the two paths (analog and digital) and have the same volume level (not adjusting the amp volume).
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ANALOG: Thorens VN-150, 2M Black, ZP3, ZSTAGE
DIGITAL: Apple TV, Moon 230HAD, ZROCK2
AMP + SPEAKERS: SE84UFO, Omega Super 3 HO XRS, DeepOmega 8
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Archie
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #4 - 05/13/18 at 18:29:46
 
I concur with everything people have said so far.  With my Concorde with the 40 stylus (very similar to the Black) I calculated 0.5 volts out of my ZP3.  When I went to an MC cart and a ZMC1 I got up to 1 volt, which made a big difference.  If you can wring out the hum in your system you might not notice any issues with the CSP2+ cranked up.  I fought a hum for years and now that it's gone, I'm in gain bliss.

At some point you might want to try a ZROCK2 after the ZP3.  It adds gain and a fantastic lower end.  I would hate to be without mine.  Unlike pursuitofnow, I run my ZROCK2 at 3 o'clock now that it's before my CSP3.
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atran1234
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #5 - 05/13/18 at 22:23:44
 
Thanks everyone for their thoughts.  Very helpful.  I just realized (and totally forgot) that I'm running a pair of 5751 in the front 2 tubes on the ZP3.  Replacing them with some true 12AX7 really helped with the gain. So thanks Mark for reminding me of this.

I also tried running the ZP3 into a ZSTAGE before the CSP2+ (I also have a ZROCK2 after the CSP2+) and after experimenting with a few different tubes, I found the Gold Lion 12AU7 surprisingly quiet and linear/neutral so that really helped the voltage gap as well - so thanks pursuitofnow for suggesting this!  Your comment made me double checked my setup again.

It also seems like some of the hum came from my current rectifier and after swapping in a Valve Art 274B, the system really calms down quite a bit.

@Archie - I'm running my ZROCK2 after my CSP2+ and had never tried running it your way.  Did you try running it the other around and just prefer the ZROCK2 in front of the CSP2+?  Wondering if I should try it as well.

Thanks everyone again for the great suggestions!
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Archie
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #6 - 05/14/18 at 00:26:30
 
I ran the ZR2 after the CSP3 at first and only tried it before as I was finding situations where I would over-drive the ZR2.  The ZR2 can only take 15 volts in whereas the CSP3 can put out as much as 30 volts.  Try it before and see what you think.  I prefer it there.  I find that I turn the ZR2 up higher when it is before the CSP3.  The only downside is switching cables for another source if I want that to go through the ZR2 as well (which I do).
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Syd
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #7 - 05/19/18 at 20:27:28
 
Yes it's a puzzle why mc carts don't have the heft of CD players but that's the deal and we have to circumvent it in our own ways. I used to push the mc button on my project phono box and blammo, there it was. That was powered though, and I've been looking at the Rothwell Headspace mc, a powered step up ( but trannies ). There must be other powered step ups. I couldn't be without the ZP3 and go the whole hog on a new mm/mc phono. I actually have plenty of volume with 12 watts and the pre dial at  6 o'clock . When I look at the new 25th Anniv zen and think I want one, as I do, I have to be realistic and I'm not sure the juice will be there, even with 97db single drivers. 2 watts isn't 12.
I have done the unthinkable and snipped the two wires leading to the adjustable knob of the MC1. Result, a touch more volume, hardly noticeable. Hum is now gone but I never really had much anyway.
The adjustable knob never made any difference anyway, hence the wire cutting........and also has me thinking I made the wrong choice of step ups. My Benz quotes .34mv but I've read it's more like .5 because the cm/sec is different. So the MC1 could be to much gain......hmmm.
I'm sure there's a step up out there which will mate just right.
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Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Archie
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #8 - 05/19/18 at 22:49:39
 
Quote:
The adjustable knob never made any difference anyway, hence the wire cutting........and also has me thinking I made the wrong choice of step ups.


Syd, do you have the ZMC1?  When you say the knob never made a difference, do you really mean none?  Mine goes from no volume to a peak volume then no real change.  If that knob is disabled wouldn't the step up just give full output all the time?

The ZMC1 is a 20X step up and with a 0.5mV cart and a ZP3 only gives 1 volt out of the ZP3, I think.  I've often wondered if I would want more gain from a step up than the ZMC1 offers.
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Syd
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #9 - 05/20/18 at 13:16:13
 
Yes Archie, no difference. From distortion at the botttom to very quickly a single volume that never changed. Thats the ZMC1. Now I`m thinking that the ZMC3 @ 12X gain but with a differnet impedance match might be better suited. [

ZMC1

For low output MC cartridges

1:20 ratio for use with 3~25 ohm cartridges.

ZMC2

For high output MC cartridges

1:10 ratio for use with 3~100 ohm cartridges.

ZMC3

For high impedance MC cartridges

1:12 ratio for use with 25~100 ohm cartridges.

My Benz LP`s cart is 38 ohms.

I got the info here [url]mc step-up transformers explained
http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co.uk/html/mc_step-up_transformers_explai.html

Lots of writing but there is a table.

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Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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Archie
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #10 - 05/20/18 at 18:34:54
 
That makes sense why you can go to the top with the ZMC1.  It would be nice to have a 20X or 30X with the higher impedance.  I bet Steve can make one.  Or change carts.  I've only used Ortofon MCs.  Kontrapunkt b, Cadenza Blue and Jubilee.  All fantastic.  The trick is to jump on Ortofon's "Treasure Trove" carts.  They rebuild older carts and sell them for half.  That's how I got my Jubilee.  The are 100% new except the body.
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Syd
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #11 - 06/04/18 at 20:29:20
 
Well, I take back what I said about perhaps not having enough juice from my ZMC1 > ZP3 > CSP2+ > bridged Rachels @ 12 watts to consider the 2 watt Zen 25th anniv. I got properly down to it and found out I had a tube issue from a batch of 11 Philips Miniwat 6dj8's, some dimple and the rest ring getters. A one at a time elimination found a weak tube and one that caused some noise.
Kerbam ! I'm nearly at cd levels and the system is really taking off again. Lots more of everything, with the restored bass that I remember when the system was at its best.
3 O'clock on the dial and I'm thinking wow this is what makes Decware brilliant.
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Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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NormD
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #12 - 06/04/18 at 21:32:53
 
Has anyone measured the output voltage of the ZP3 with a 2-ish mV input?  I have a Moving Iron SoundSmith cartridge that puts out 2.12 volts and I get plenty of gain into my ZTPRE without any help using a Cinnook phono stage that has 45db gain, which is close to the 43db of the ZP3. The calculator cited above does not seem right for our application because I know for sure I am getting much more voltage than calculated. My ZP3 will be on the build bench soon, so I will know first hand by the end of June.
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atran1234
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Re: ZP3 Gain / Voltage Out Math with Ortofon 2M Black
Reply #13 - 06/04/18 at 21:50:26
 
I had attempted to use a voltmeter to measure the output voltage of my sources / preamp / amp at the end of the RCA output cable, but thus far, I have only been able to measure the output voltage of my CD player, which is very close to 2V, and the Ortofon 2M black catrridge, which is relatively close to 0.5mV.

Once that passes through the phonostage or the preamp, my way of measuring it doesn't work anymore.  I'm sure I'm missing something and I have been trying to figure out how to measure voltage output out of a phonostage/preamp/amp but haven't been able to figure out how yet (should have paid more attention in my Electricity & Magnetism class...).

So if anyone has any pointer, that will be very helpful since I don't know what I'm doing here...
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