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25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions! (Read 20687 times)
Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #100 - 03/20/19 at 18:17:58
 
Amp #48 arrived safely 7 days ago,very well packed,someone once mentioned the mars rover?I knew someone was moving in by the luggage that arrived a week before.The wood is spectacular!I swear i looked into the final bag,stuck my nose in and time travelled back 32 years when i picked up my lp-12..this particular wood is fluted like my lp-12,and all these little marks like dimples, i'm looking at them together now,spectacular cabinet work!that's ZEN!
So after 3 days of letting it all get settled,i go up to the speaker room and pick up one of mr shaws little pp's,one under each arm,have owned just about every version of ls35a,Kan,1,2….this amp is what these speakers crave,the imaging is now world class period.I'm loading up a room 10x12 and liquid rover is looking over at the 275mk6 and starting to wink. Grin

Yup,this is liquid…stunning sound….now for some reference dulcets.

Thank you all at Decware…whoever got the wtf,..haha.
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #101 - 03/20/19 at 19:51:00
 
Congrats Tubecan! Slowly but surely the 25th Anniversary Experience is sweeping the world! Glad you are getting to enjoy the amp, they offer a tremendous audio lift.
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Palomino
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #102 - 03/20/19 at 20:09:53
 
Congrats

If you like the amp now, you will like it a lot more in a month or so.
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i7 Mac Mini with LPSU/SSD running Audirvana 3.2, Uptone Audio Regen on LPSU, TEAC UD503, Decware Silver ICs, 25th Anniversary Zen, PS Audio P5 Power Supply, PS Audio Power Cords, Vintage Western Electric 16g Speaker wires, DIY Open Baffle Speakers
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #103 - 03/21/19 at 00:03:15
 
I'm listening now with the speakers as headphones…about 2 feet away and the sound is so clear,the resolution is off the map,bottom so tight that i'm thinking this is correct..this amp is crazy.
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #104 - 03/21/19 at 13:54:37
 
I'm listening to piano..piano!..when have i ever listened to piano?!!!
i had no idea pianos are this big,the keyboard is the size of the room…when your heads bouncing to "piano" you know there's something good going on…now the suns coming up and i get to stare at the different shades of this wood cabinetry,around 1pm this amp turns red and has the most incredible grain….83db speakers and i could live with this forever,watts shmatts…this amp gets loud with total control of these plastic overweight drivers.
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Ace-Tone
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #105 - 03/21/19 at 15:51:24
 
Tubecan,  I've had my UFO25 for nearly 7 months now (wow, time has flown). I can tell you that you'd better strap in because it gets better/bigger/badder as the amp seasons. Roll in some good NOS tubes, (If you rec'd amp with Steve's tubes you'll be fine), and enjoy the journey!
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #106 - 03/25/19 at 19:51:03
 
I have the stock tubes,the japanese matsusonic have extended highs,could live alone with them,sound good,actually they pulled off the sitting in a piano ducking hammers trick very convincingly..the russia,russia,russian one has great  bass,…i picked up 2 amperex for 40 and seems the first 2-3 hours they sound dull,then the midrange opens up and that's that.The OD3 seems to really change the sound with swapping out..the raytheon OD3A supplied sounds lively-more musical?..probably imagining.You can really hear the difference with speaker cable changes..huge,was always on the fence about that…fresh scrapings when swapping?.
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will
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #107 - 03/26/19 at 18:51:03
 
Quote:
The OD3 seems to really change the sound with swapping out..the raytheon OD3A supplied sounds lively-more musical?..probably imagining.You can really hear the difference with speaker cable changes..huge,was always on the fence about that…fresh scrapings when swapping?.


Hey Tubecan,

Sounds like your amp is really getting fun!

It may well be that the latter part of your comment, about hearing cables so well, answers the former. I think distinctly hearing things you thought were not necessarily for real before indicates the new playground you are in. Steve's amps are just quite revealingly and liquid by design, and especially if tuned to optimize those qualities. Transparency and resolution really good, with nice tubes, cables, other components and all, the musical experience can feel pretty real in my experience.

With my Toriis, also using VR tubes as power filters to the tubes, in this setup, I have always been able to hear differences in VRs of the same voltage rating, and more so going from, say an OA3 to an OB3, or OB3 to OC3. Changing the little VRs, it is totally noticeable here too.

When I think of the power that feeds the signal path parts and tubes being cleaner, more refined, it is not hard to imagine how that power refinement will effect the parts that make up the signal path and sound. Using VRs this way is great design, but also another indicator of how important the quality of power is, before the amp, and inside the amp...better in, better performance, and better sound out.

I have been exploring with my amp and pre power supplies, connectors, wires, resistors, caps and all for a few years, often experimenting daily, or several times in a day, to optimize whatever I am working on. The last month or so, I can get "glimpses," but can't really hear anything that seems off about the sound, just amazed at the beauty. Loads of these changes were all about power, not technically in the signal path. And changing a power bypass cap value, type, or combination...or a resistor, or wire, by enhancing the quality and character of the power going to the tubes, it was clear that power tuning can seriously tune the sound! I have been listening really carefully for a long time, but to me these power changes are quite obvious...as obvious in most cases as signal path part changes. This is a big part of why the project took so long...many, many experiments to reach deeper completeness and synergy and I have yet to find a part anywhere in the amp I can't hear when changed.

Long story, short, I suspect you were not imagining the sound change with that VR roll! Everything in these amps makes a difference in a revealing system/room, and from what I gather, especially with your new 25th Zen!
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #108 - 03/27/19 at 13:44:48
 
Sitting in a piano ducking hammers..actually there was nothing pulled off,this is the first time i'v experienced this,and with an 83 db speaker..40 years in the same room and i get stink eyed for playing too loud!This amplifier is alive!,at low volume the sound after a couple of minutes get's louder,so you turn it down a notch and after a few more minutes again you have turn her down,feels like there's a connection straight to the brain,don't need ears!..i found a bagful of VR' and rectifiers..now to sell off some 12ax telees and whatever,i'm looking at you mk6-going to hit the 6-7dj8' HARD!
Linn speaker cable and now 100% i can hear the difference when they're sending the music backwards,before 70%.have to turn down the volume when i type cuz i can't concentrate typing my thoughts.I say just send everyone one of these and we're done.I plugged in an old koss radio and the sound is amazing.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #109 - 03/28/19 at 05:40:28
 

Tubcan, Now you're making my face hurt from smiling so big... because you capture the amazement I felt when I described the sound of the original amplifier in my long-winded posts... my biggest concern while writing about it was of course loosing credibility because it seems too unbelievable therefor it must be marketing bullshit. Of course we all know that is not the case with the first 50 amps out the door and not a single return!  Still, we need to be reminded, as you have done, constantly until we all own one.

BTW,  I believe it IS alive.

And BTW, at 2 feet away (If that's what I read) your speakers are plenty efficient from a power standpoint and being familiar with them is an excellent way to evaluate this amp since you have a familiar reference point.

I listened to some LP's last night from Sheffield Labs, specifically the first act of Romeo and Juliet, and about 1/3 through it, I was gobsmacked at the dynamics and feeling of realness and space -- it was so real I just about shit my pants. Again, from a 2 watt amplifier and full scale orchestra unleashed and it somehow didn't clip on the DNA2 94dB speakers. I've never heard anything better than that and interestingly I have a "I've never heard anything better than that" story from yesterday too, and the day before, and every day for the past year or more. It is an amplifier that you never get used to, and the longer you live with it the more you realize it is alive and it's female and... a little bit dangerous since you spend well over double the listening time you planed on.

Anyway, thanks for getting me wound up so I can get you wound up! And please keep us posted as things progress. It's easy to get one and think "well I can't write anything that hasn't been written already so I just won't stay much."  Believe it or not, readers are looking for confirmation, and repeatability, so if your experience sounds similar to everyone else, by all means post it. A hundred posts that all say the exact same things are to the reader like a petition to the greatness of the amplifier.  The world is full of great amplifiers, so the only way anyone will be able to share your experience and join this family is by getting pushed over the edge by your posts, impressions, reviews, and mainly just the realtime reports when you hear things you never heard before!  

Posting the realtime updates lets us experience the amp vicariously which is particularly nice when you don't actually own on yet.

Happy listening!

Steve
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #110 - 03/29/19 at 02:07:47
 
Hello Steve Deckert..honestly 2 feet away almost facing each other,cept my big head in the way,the greatest headphones ever,more beefier than kan 2 actives with 250's,also no need for more power when their a foot from the front wall in standard setup..seems this amp stopped blinking once in awhile and now there's more than enough power,once in awhile i'll be listening and have this feeling like it's all midrange and high frequencies directly into my brain,then a bass note hits and just floors me.50 amps and not a single return?If this one stopped working you wouldn't get it back.i'd just keep staring at it like i do.
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #111 - 04/04/19 at 13:40:17
 
Musical!!,i'm thinking i need another matsushita or two, and a dozen of them sv83' and call it a stupid no brainer retirement amp…majestic.hooked up some smmg and they've never sounded like this…i'm giving this amp a hard time and it just smirks.Funny when you realize most of the time you've been playing amps around a watt and the other 100+ watts are just loitering around.these are 81 db speakers and i'm sitting here wondering wtf.
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #112 - 04/08/19 at 20:16:43
 
Tchaikovsky with 88 db reference dulcets..a canadian version of 3/5a' and i don't need anymore watts,i'm thinking that the 2? this amp has is too much! Grin The 6n5p tube seems like it wants to show off but is stuck,maybe another 50 hours?..This amp is amazing.
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Ace-Tone
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #113 - 04/10/19 at 02:15:51
 
Tubecan ....I agree. A strong +1 on all your comments. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's back to my listening chair!
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Palomino
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #114 - 04/10/19 at 21:04:53
 
Yes Tube, just wait.  It gets better.  I think I am now approaching 300 hours and its just amazing each time I listen.  Huge.  Pinpoint soundstage.  Great detail.  Musical.
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #115 - 04/10/19 at 21:31:13
 
I am also around my 300th hour or so, if not more driving 88.5dB speakers.  It is just getting better and better.  Interestingly, the amp has given me the impression that its volume has increased over the course of the last month or so.  Also, there is so much detail that you do not want to crank it up anyway...
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Palomino
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #116 - 04/10/19 at 21:57:01
 
I definitely have the volume lower.
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MrDerrick
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #117 - 04/13/19 at 21:55:35
 
I'm at about 150 hours and its hard to believe that this amp will become even more musical!

I thought that I had a dead quiet system before inserting the 25th, I was wrong.

The 25th is so freaking quiet that it revealed that I still had several layers of noise to eliminate that I never new existed.

This amp pushed me to explore installation schemes that I would have never previously needed to consider and the pay off is an exponentially greater listening experience.

The end result is once again a dead quiet system with vastly greater dynamics and musicality.

I am in the Zen Zone!

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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #118 - 04/14/19 at 00:25:44
 
So glad you have it and are enjoying it. I love my Monoblocks. . . the mods are more than the real deal, they transform the sound. It keeps getting better too, you have that to look forward to. The amp will teach you how to tailor your system to it.

I just realized I've had my modded Monoblocks for a year now! Whoa!
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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #119 - 04/14/19 at 01:55:50
 
Holy crap that year went fast!!!
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #120 - 04/14/19 at 02:12:05
 
Yes, and lots of joy!
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #121 - 04/15/19 at 17:00:25
 
The last 5 days felt like a year..i bricked my airport express and lost my internet connection and can't figure this out so i gave up...probably something updated automatically and poof.Yup this amp is so quiet that i would have to climb into the speaker to hear any hissing..not one cell phone,taxi conversation picked up..seems dead! till the music starts…awesome amp.I'm thinking i have about 500 hours+,14 hours per day,learned that lesson of leaving amps on from my british fidelity a1 35 years back,i was the only that could keep that toaster going for 6 months at a time.
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #122 - 05/02/19 at 20:19:09
 
Klipsch Cornwall 3's turn this 2 watts into a thousand,my ears were flapping…if only my room was bigger…now i'm on the hunt.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #123 - 05/02/19 at 20:59:54
 
My speakers are only ~94db but its much louder than I need in a 16X12 room.

I'm 3 months in and listen almost daily.  I got up early this morning to listen to a few songs I found last night and once again said "wow, this sound really good."
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #124 - 05/03/19 at 20:15:24
 
I wouldn't play them that loud daily,that'd be hurtful.also noticed at low volumes they sound really stunning,i pulled an all nighter with some old bootleg vinyl…they have a certain magnifying trick,must be the sensitivity.Every tube change is easily heard,cables really are directional now no doubt.Trumpets and saxophones on a pair of P3's is something that should be heard,not loud but so thick and there.
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #125 - 05/07/19 at 20:03:44
 
This morning i replaced the oa3'vr75 in the back with westinghouse OD3 vr150' and this is even more realistic,the bass,midrange,everything sounds mo better,bigger,wider,could be cuz their canadian?..haha.The meters dropped down to just above 20ma from above 30..strange i thought they would go up.
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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #126 - 05/07/19 at 21:27:19
 
That's a nice discovery isn't it? busterfree got me started on OD3 and I really like using them, and have migrated to the OD3W which I really like a lot.
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busterfree
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #127 - 05/08/19 at 00:12:11
 
Smiley

Great amps!
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Tubecan
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #128 - 05/09/19 at 19:33:52
 
I'm back to the OA3's in the rear,change them every couple of days,but the single OD3 Raytheon is staying put.
The Bias switch is brilliant, let's me discover some cd's that i could never listen to without grinding my teeth…won't mention an oracle origines stoopid cardas tonearm cable,6 trips and they couldn't figure it out.thing was a microphone with tube amps…still bright with some recordings but i bias and alls ok,great amp that still hasn't picked up a conversation.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #129 - 05/12/19 at 10:19:44
 
After nearly 300 hours of numerous absolutely sublime listening moments with performers and instruments literally extending beyond the physical boundaries of the listening room, yesterday evening was quite surreal to say the least. I'm still scratching my head to fully comprehend what actually happened.

How do you explain to someone that the doudouk took a short-cut through your spine or that Marina Celeste stuck her tongue in both your ears and whispered... "Oui, encore!!!...."?

With the risk of having the white coats knocking on my door, yesterday evening I think I was in a vortex. The Rodin vortex coil must have been activated through the frequencies generated and moved from the physical, perpetual 1,2,4,8,7,5 loop to the magic 3,6,9 realm.

There was a spooky presence that may perhaps best be described as a conscious mind of its own. I need to check if this experience can be repeated or if it was all my imagination.... Smiley

Whatever happened, it left traces and a strong desire for more. Addiction, anybody? Smiley

Yours truly,
Havtorn
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busterfree
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #130 - 05/12/19 at 10:57:55
 
Yes. I’m addicted.

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Lon
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #131 - 05/12/19 at 12:45:09
 
I have the Monoblock version of the 25th Anniversary amplifier and I just adore them. It's been more than a year that I have had them in my main system, and as I've learned to integrate them into the system more and more my appreciation for them just grows. There's nothing like them I've ever experienced before. I'm addicted too.
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busterfree
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #132 - 05/12/19 at 16:56:31
 
Still listening...to the other system...I really like weekend listening.

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Steve Deckert
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #133 - 05/12/19 at 21:35:20
 

Quote:
There was a spooky presence that may perhaps best be described as a conscious mind of its own. I need to check if this experience can be repeated or if it was all my imagination.... Smiley


Apparently it is repeatable, as I've written about it more than once and now it is happening to you. It's the way it takes control of a situation... it knows the room is not perfect, the speakers may not be ideal, but it just forces them both to bend to it's will and brings the music to life in a way that no other amplifier has. It's like it consciously has the ability to ignore handicaps if it chooses to. No other amplifier in my lifetime has ever had this ability in fact quite the opposite. Seems like if there is even the suggestion of a handicap or weak link in the chain, the amplifiers jump on the opportunity to make an issue out of it.

Happy listening : )

Steve
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #134 - 05/12/19 at 21:57:38
 
I'm almost patiently looking forward to this experience myself with #57.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #135 - 05/13/19 at 12:24:29
 
Re: the “spooky presence”:

Yes it’s happened to me  and repeatedly so.  After getting past the blown fuse/rectifier I was listening to ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ a capella by the Persuasions and as each vocalist engaged, at one point I said to my wife, who was around the corner, “what did you say?” “Nothing” was the response.  The impression of someone being there was that real, that 3 dimensional.

Same thing again when I was listening to “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Casey Abrams!  By the way, the electric guitar lead in that song was, well, I don’t even know how to put it but only to say - spooky.  Next day I wondered if it would repeat, and yes it did.  

It wasn’t perfect though, it was as if the UFO25 was saying: “this is only a taste of what I can do, so get off your butt, finish treating the room and send the CSP-3 in for the mods!  

Demanding little bugger, in a good way though.



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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #136 - 05/13/19 at 18:32:42
 
I found a 10 yo panasonic blurry player in my stash,so i plug in direct and  there's nothing blurry about this sound..2.25 volts and i swear there's a violin playing in the room..and someones just started playing a real life piano…friends brought over a mullard,telefunken,philips,amperex…and the matsushita 7DJ8 sounds the most realistic.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #137 - 05/13/19 at 21:39:04
 
So I went back to listen again last night, just to check if my head was still on. This time with two albums I know precisely what to look out for (Marc Fosset Trio and Andreas Steier JSB Harpsicord Concertos).

There it was again - this eery feeling of not being alone in the room. Only this time with an added feeling of guilt for having dared to question the authority of this amp and insulted its intelligence by having to prove to an inferior mind in useless test sequences what should be self-evident...

There is only one problem with this amp - and a major one at it - you don't want to listen to anything else afterwards.... Smiley
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #138 - 05/13/19 at 22:03:34
 
and why would you want to?
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #139 - 05/13/19 at 22:31:06
 
Okay, I love these amps but I must confess I don't feel "another presence in the room." I always feel that I'm listening to a recording. I have played instruments, I've been on a stage behind a drum set with a band, I've recorded bands, I've played drums, electronic piano, basses and guitars of a number of types in the very rooms I listen to music. These are the best amps I've ever heard. To me it's as if I'm listening to a microphone feed to my brain rather than the usual stereo presentation. . . but it's still a recording and there are no alien presences alongside me. Maybe I'm too sober but that is how I roll.

Amazing amps! Can't wait to wake up and wave goodbye to my wife as she goes off to work tomorrow morning and get some more listening hours in; I've had to stop listening for the day today.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #140 - 05/13/19 at 22:40:11
 
"and why would you want to?"

I have a second system and it sounds....well.....pretty uninteresting now....
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #141 - 05/13/19 at 23:10:29
 
Lon,

Having the feeling that you are listening to a recording (albeit a very nice one) is probably what my initial listening impressions were as well. However, with the increasing number of hours added - always with subtle changes and surprises - it's like the amp took a quantum leap lately to a higher dimension. In my case after approx 300 hours. This is at least the impression it gives for the moment in my system and in my listening environment.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #142 - 05/14/19 at 00:08:02
 
I don't have this amp so I could be wrong but it seems like with time, confidence/faith develops in the amp in that you are in "safe hands" and consequently a relaxed and meditative state takes over.  This allows for some serious journeying!   Cool
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #143 - 05/14/19 at 00:25:51
 
Okay I agree they get better with seasoning. I've had my amps for over a year! I guess I get what it may "feel" like but I am just too anchored in the sound of real music in the air and this gets very very close, but no cigar, but NOTHING gets the cigar.

And I agree it makes it hard to listen to another system, but luckily the other system that I get to listen to most has a CSP3 with the 25th Anniversary Mods and a Taboo Mk IV with the 25th Anniversary Mods. . .so it's not a big step down. TV and DVD and Blu-ray especially sound gobsmacking with this "second" system.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #144 - 05/14/19 at 15:59:13
 
I don't have a live instrument experience either.  One note from the grand piano in the corner exposes the lie instantly.  But occasionally I do get fooled by something in a recording that sounds like it's in the room with me.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #145 - 05/14/19 at 22:32:36
 
I get and understand what Lon is saying.  In fact I’ve been using his perspective and juxtapositioning it with mine which is that of one who listens to live music in a venue as opposed to the musician in the band or orchestra.  This has been of great help to me.  Getting the balance is tough in reproduction and I think that one is always going to swing a little to one side or the other depending on ones experience which forms ones perspective.  

Right now I’m burning in the Type 80 St.  This particular tube is strong in portraying decay and speed combining it so that it comes off as liquid.  Sound stage and layering are also among the best so far.  So, that from my perspective it is at times haunting, BUT... it can come off as neutral to the point of being a little cool at times and I want a little more of Lon has without loosing the strengths of whats there, that’s the tough part.  If I put in the Sophia, which I like a LOT I loose a little too much of what the Type 80 is doing. S*%T!!

It’s early in the game to come to a final conclusion.  I also noted as I walked around that I really do need to finish treating the room or I may never be able to get that just right balance, for me.

In the end will it be the same as the real thing? No.  Will the illusion of the real thing from various perspectives be there.  I think so and the illusion will be quite strong so much so that it can take one off guard.

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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #146 - 05/15/19 at 03:15:57
 
I guess what we define as "real" is a lot semantics. Clearly what we listen to in our music rooms is recorded, most relatively "enhanced" by recording equipment and methods, and/or the rooms used for recording.... hopefully in positive ways on the whole. Some recordings attempt purer representation of a live venue, and most, studio recordings, are artist’s attempts to potentiate a great studio-produced experience of the music. I like both.

Recording tech, often relatively good at capturing aspects of real music...spectral balance, space, fine detail, harmonics, timing...then we audio people start to play with it. But it is fragile. All else good, I think harmonics and space can too easily be lost or defiled. And if so, even if we don’t consciously notice it, it seems our very fine-tuned innate perception “knows” and perceives it as “unreal.” Luckily, Steve, Bob, and other’s work hard to help us retain and subtly enhance natural musical qualities from recordings. With this support, and with care and diligence in setup, it seems to me that a recording is much easier to experience as close to the music musicians experience when recording.

If we can create system/rooms that can compliment well recorded music as completely as possible, retaining and enhancing the fragile structures and clarity of real music, it seems shortcomings of recordings can be nudged back toward natural musical qualities to various degrees. Well implemented tubes can clearly support this, as can the musical qualities of exceptional sources, cables, etc. But more commonly, audio devices and combinations can easily mess up harmonic structures, fine detail, space and timing, the most difficult things to preserve...making the music less “real.” And many rooms just make it all worse.

But if the gear conveys natural musical qualities, and the room supports and/or enhances these fragile qualities, with little harm to what makes music feel real, our chances for complex systems transforming recordings into authentic feeling music increase. The audiophile game presents….and with luck, on occasion we find ways into the precious beauty!

My setup is not perfect, but it is very authentic and captivating to me. I experience the sense of players, or more, instruments "in the room" all the time, purer recordings without embellishment feeling like the church or hall it was recorded in. And with nice studio recordings, with good soundstage representation, my room starts to feel like the studio mix is "in my room."

Here, synergy of my heavily modified (musically enhanced) system with my room, very much contributes to the experience of "a live" feel from recordings. Without truncation of things that make music sound and feel real, if a system/room can reveal and compliment the balance and complexities of music gracefully...and if the recording and room will allow a saturated soundstage with good layering of width and depth...room boundaries disappearing, the ambient information from instrument to infinity supports a greater sense of a "real" musical experience to our "subconscious." It seems that with natural and relatively complete musical values conveyed, we remove critical barriers to our body/mind accepting the music as "real."

Alternately, hiding from system/room flaws by "making a system forgiving," or hyping it up in some ways to mask deficiencies, can “sound good” but often removes natural musical qualities our body/mind need to more fully sympathize with. Feeling unnatural, recordings sound/feel more like they are separate and incompatible with our very subtle body/mind systems. On the other hand, seems the closer an audio system/room gets to being able to portray recordings with natural and balanced musical structure, the easier it is for our body/mind to harmonize with the music, to be "taken over" by it, the energy of the music sympathetic with the energies that make up our body/mind.

I like what really nice mics, gear and mixing can do with the music. Not always, but in many cases, for me, the enhancements of quality recording, mixing and mastering can be as intended, supportive toward an immersive listening experience.

In my room these days, if I can let go of the analytical aspects of "listening," my consciousness gives over to the experience of the music. When it works, consciousness expanded, not much awareness of body, I am aware of experiencing the music through "hearing," but I feel like I have become part of the waves of sound...interactive. Not disappearing, but without separation, experiencing self as self, but also as a part of the music. And it has become repeatable with the right balance of conditions, darkness an important contributor.
 
Recorded though it is, in terms of natural musical structure (and therefore experience) I suspect my room sounds better than many mixing rooms, and certainly better than most live performances where the rooms and gear are most often not exceptional...damaging the natural complexity of the music before our body/consciousness gets a chance to integrate with it. Sure, if it is a big enough sound, and not terribly off, it engulfs our body/mind with its vibrations, but the real test to me is in-home listening levels.

It seems more of us are "getting there” these days, and not surprising, the 25th amp and modifications making it easier. I guess this is why we are hearing more people on the forum talk about the immersive experience as feeling "real" and transformative.

I personally don't see this intimate integration with the music as an illusion. It is more allowing myself to fully participate in the very beautiful language of music, which is after all energetic, like we are.
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #147 - 05/15/19 at 05:33:58
 

This is really a great thread so far!  I am getting confirmation on all of last years ramblings about his amplifier.  Also Lon, your comment contrasted against your library of incredible insight about our gear through 20 some years of listening made me realize for certain what I have always suspected, and that is that -- in a room that is well treated with the speakers 4 to 6 feet from any wall, diffusers on at least the front wall, the holographic aspect of the 3D soundstage is so overwhelming that it shorts out your cognitive senses to the point where music takes on literally another dimension that is the same dimension as when you and I sat behind the drum kit and jammed live.  It sounded real when we were in the studio because it was 3D.  The difference between recorded and live is essentially the difference between 2D and 3D.

-Steve



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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #148 - 05/15/19 at 05:55:40
 

The ultimate goal is to not hear the amp, speakers, cables, or room.  As was mentioned earlier in this thread.

Music is energetic, understatement.  The universe is held together by it.   The power of music has a wide range.  Music is consciousness.

I learned this in the studio as the barely capable drummer in a weekly open stage where you never knew who would show up or what would happen, I found myself in situations where 'real musicians' would walk in and I would be thrilled because that's what it takes to get a good sound.  My interest was always in getting a good sound as I recorded live two track and live 16 track simultaneously for 10 years without missing a single night.

On those somewhat rare nights when just the right musicians would walk in and some spontaneous jams would ensue, I found myself able to play the drums perhaps 3 to 4 times better than my actual abilities, because the music took control of me and shoved my mind out of the way.  Those were some of the most glorious moments I've experienced musically, and I clearly came to understand the music was a form of consciousness that had the ability to take control and make all the players, even an entire orchestra perform every note and intonation with exquisite perfection.  Anything that can makes humans who can't even agree what to put on a hotdog operate as a single consciousness is itself conscious.  

I have experienced the same presence from this amplifier on good captures of real music.

-Steve
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Re: 25th Anniversary Zen Triode Amplifier Impressions!
Reply #149 - 05/15/19 at 12:23:23
 
Steve Deckert wrote on 05/15/19 at 05:33:58:

This is really a great thread so far!  I am getting confirmation on all of last years ramblings about his amplifier.  Also Lon, your comment contrasted against your library of incredible insight about our gear through 20 some years of listening made me realize for certain what I have always suspected, and that is that -- in a room that is well treated with the speakers 4 to 6 feet from any wall, diffusers on at least the front wall, the holographic aspect of the 3D soundstage is so overwhelming that it shorts out your cognitive senses to the point where music takes on literally another dimension that is the same dimension as when you and I sat behind the drum kit and jammed live.  It sounded real when we were in the studio because it was 3D.  The difference between recorded and live is essentially the difference between 2D and 3D.

-Steve




Honestly Steve I don't feel there's any contradiction with my recent comments to my backlog of comments. I have NEVER said that I felt that recorded music WAS real in any room with any equipment. Yes, I've encountered "realism," and I've encountered "in the room" moments, but I've been careful to consistently be both aware and expressive that I don't feel reproduced music "makes a real music experience" in my rooms. My cognitive functions are never suspended in this manner no matter how much part of me wishes they were.

Granted I don't live in a treated room with my system but I have been listening in treated rooms (granted not with Decware equipment, but with some very good equipment). I have certainly heard interesting things in this set up but in my personal experience things like "soundstage" and "imaging" as experienced with stereo reproduction is not "realistic," does not share important qualities of "real music" performed and not "reproduced." For me there's a lot more of a difference than just between "2D and 3D":--"3D" reproduced music does not share important properties of real music in the air underproduced. Granted there are a lot of interesting features of such a room and reproduction, but I have NEVER been able to live in a situation where I could "go that route," and I can't imagine a point in my life going forward without a divorce or the death of my wife when I could entertain building such a listening space, and I want NEITHER of those possibilities to occur, my married life is more important to me than music reproduction (which is VERY important!) And I don't want to produce an internal and external conflict by getting acclimated to and hearing a number of systems in treated rooms as this can't become my reality. I have learned over the years how NOT to torment myself.

That said, I still don't think that any system can make music become that real in playback, because of the recording process itself. With the innovations of Steve's pioneering work and the skillful setup of systems and rooms we get right to the heart of the matter: the recordings themselves. And while some are spectacular the very nature of "recording" -- capturing an experience from the air and room into any media -- creates a barrier to realistic reproduction that just isn't surmountable. We can get really close TO the recording right now, but we're still at the recording. This is the empirical nature of my experience both sides of a microphone. And I'm quite happy with as close as we can get.

I think in my youth I was more inclined to fantasy and mysticism and felt a lot more "playfully" and idealistically about music, but I just can't surrender reality in my listening sessions to an absolute extent. Maybe that's my limitation, but my own personal growth has been fortified by shedding unreality in my life and facing and wrestling with reality, so I am not as fantastical or mystical about music as I had been. It's a very important part of my "inner life" and the "talk" in my brain. I have a voracious appetite for it, having become bored about four centuries ago with a steady diet of "rock" and moved into an exploration of many varieties of music, and recording formats, and musicians and I still keep a pair of hands and feet into music with guitars and keyboards if not drums these days. I love my Decware and enjoy expansive and deeply satisfying listenings, but I'm not experiencing "presences" in my listening space, and that's probably good because the "presences" persons in my life HAVE experienced have not always been "benevolent!"
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