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08/19/19 at 20:15:50 


       



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ZMA Anniversary Mod (Read 2332 times)
Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
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ZMA Anniversary Mod
08/31/18 at 20:31:26
 

After last nights analog tests with the ZMA and DNA2 combo as loud as I could get the amp, playing BACH on a MOOG sourced from a half-speed master, the decision was made to approve the mods and move forward.

I have been wrestling with various options including my original idea to just build the ZMA with these mods from the get go and raise the price.

I have decided not to do that, because bone stock Tone Audio said it was better than Shindo and better than Wavac.

Quote:
Quote:
If this piece of audio fine art had
a Shindo or Wavac badge on the front, it would easily have another zero on the price tag. Take it from someone who’s owned both: Save the dough and buy American.
The ZMA is a better amplifier than either—and it carries a lifetime warranty and tech support (for
the original owner).

Tone Audio Magazine



If I raise the price, how many people will it take out of the game, people who might have swung it, now never to hear one?  That would be stupid on my part.

So the decision has been made to offer the upgrade as a multi-part option in the shopping cart once we edit the web page.

The last decision gets to your question about the applicability of individual components of the mod itself.

So, those components of the ZMA Anniversary Mod are as follows:

1) Special screen resistors on the Ultra-linear taps: This mod greatly improves the musicality of the amplifier. It is optional on a stock ZMA because the speed of the stock ZMA is perfectly balanced and thus perfectly musical already. Nevertheless, you will hear an increase in the ease of the music, and get better dimensionality and sound stage depth as a result.  That said, this mod is a prerequisite for all mods to follow. The reason is that all mods to follow are increasing the speed and resolution of the amplifier and these screen resistors automatically balance those increases as we go. The price for this mod in the shopping cart will be $50. If an amplifier is sent to us for the mod, the price will be $150 as we alter the layout to properly fit the additional parts.

2) Beeswax Bypass Caps: This is the one that increases the speed and resolution of the amplifier. The price for this mod in the cart will be $400 and $500 if the amp is sent in for the mod.

3) Glass Resistors: This is more subtle but at this point in the game we're already past the point of diminishing returns so if you want to continue the journey, these N.O.S. vacuum tube metal film resistors are basically the best in the world. They are expensive, but the amplifier only has one resistor in the entire signal path when the input control is all the way up. That's one less than the Zen Triode. So it makes sense to put the best you can there in that spot. Basically there is one on each output tube, so two per channel.The price for this mod in the cart will be $280 and $380 if you send the amp here for the mod.

4) Nichicon Caps:  The modern day upgrade for the original red caps that the first ten amps were shipped with. Being 30 years newer and almost twice the size, they're pretty serious.  This underpins everything else in the way of mods  All of the mods will work and sound good without this mod, however this mod will be like a solid foundation that is unwavering. The amp will have more balls than it already does. There is a blacker background as well.  The price for this mod in the cart will be $400, and $500 if you send it in to us.


Employing all of these mods dramatically narrows the gap between the ZMA and the UFO25. Of course nights like last evening with the ZMA turned all the way up on large scale music allows it to go where the UFO25 can't, so it's not hard to say it is now the equal of the UFO25, some will say better, some will say only close... the point is that when all this started after hearing the UFO25 for 6 months I could no longer LOVE the ZMA they way I did when it was better than Sindo and Wavac.  Now I can listen to both without feeling like the UFO25 is superior.  This is a great achievement to say the least and I think a great way to offer it.

Steve
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stellablues
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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #1 - 10/09/18 at 00:28:47
 
Anybody seen or heard these mods yet besides steve? Wondering how these modes sound vs the other posts here around Mundorf caps, bypass caps, etc.

When will these be available online for purchase? or should I just send my amp and a blank check. Smiley
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Archie
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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #2 - 10/09/18 at 00:42:35
 
A few of us have been posting our experiences with the ZMA modifications.  There are several posts in this thread:

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1408725911/600#602
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under everything.
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Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #3 - 04/03/19 at 19:20:09
 

The Nichicon LNX series 500V caps (Nichicon NX mod) is now available for the ZMA!
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HockessinKid
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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #4 - 04/03/19 at 23:24:16
 
Save me a pair of those caps Steve. I'll be sending my ZMA in next month for the 25th Anniversary Full Monty.😊

HK
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Lonely Raven PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 (or) Nottingham Interspace (heavy platter) TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > Zen Mystery 25th amp > Omega SAHO XRS speakers > ZenWave Audio, TWL, & Acoustic BBQ cables.
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 290
Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #5 - 04/19/19 at 00:36:25
 
Sending in my ZMA for 25th anniversary mods next week. After getting Steve's AOK, I'm also having Decware install some of their high-end silver RCA jacks (same as in the ZROCK2 upgrade), a Furutech (Rhodium) I.E.C. and some premium WBT silver amp binding posts.

I'll be talking to Sarah tomorrow to coordinate shipping of amp and parts. Getting psyched for this next system upgrade.  

HK
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Lonely Raven PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 (or) Nottingham Interspace (heavy platter) TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > Zen Mystery 25th amp > Omega SAHO XRS speakers > ZenWave Audio, TWL, & Acoustic BBQ cables.
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BAndrade
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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #6 - 04/20/19 at 00:52:17
 
HK,
From experience I second your decision to go for Silver RCA jacks and binding posts and Furutech IEC connector. These will enhance the 25th anniversary mods symbiotically. To reduce cost I suggest changing only the 8 ohm or 4 ohm binding post (not both) , which ever you use and instead invest in the best available.
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HockessinKid
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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #7 - 04/20/19 at 10:26:54
 
BonnyA,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ZMA modification experience. I've decided to replace both sets of binding posts with WBT-0703 Ag's. This will give me future flexibililty should I decide to change out my speakers.

I struggled with my decision about the attenuator. While this may effect SQ a bit, I've decided to keep in in place. I may simplify my system and remove the CSP3-25th preamp at some point, going source directly to the ZMA.

Thanks again.

HK
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Lonely Raven PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 (or) Nottingham Interspace (heavy platter) TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > Zen Mystery 25th amp > Omega SAHO XRS speakers > ZenWave Audio, TWL, & Acoustic BBQ cables.
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 290
Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #8 - 04/24/19 at 14:15:05
 
I've put my SE84C+ Zen amp w/ the Hazen Grid modification back into my main system. The ZMA is enroute to the mothership for 25th Anniversary modifications.

This 10+ year old amplifier is sounding great after a couple hours of warm up. So at least I'll have some great listening during the wait.

HK
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Lonely Raven PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 (or) Nottingham Interspace (heavy platter) TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > Zen Mystery 25th amp > Omega SAHO XRS speakers > ZenWave Audio, TWL, & Acoustic BBQ cables.
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Lon
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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #9 - 04/24/19 at 14:21:16
 
Thank goodness for back up amps! (All Decware amps are great for this). With that C+ the three weeks will go by very fast.
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV+MK III;Rega P3 w/modPS Audio:DMP+DSD,P10,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs; Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3,double helix Plus spark cbl;Oppo UDP205;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: PM1,HD800S,LCD-
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HockessinKid
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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #10 - 04/24/19 at 14:31:50
 
You said it Lon. This C+, my old Eastern Electric MiniMax preamp and Omega 8" Alnico Hemp driver speakers are going to my son in a few months.  

So I guess I'll be looking for a used Zen UFO for backup, just in case😎.

HK
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Lonely Raven PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 (or) Nottingham Interspace (heavy platter) TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > Zen Mystery 25th amp > Omega SAHO XRS speakers > ZenWave Audio, TWL, & Acoustic BBQ cables.
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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
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Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #11 - 04/24/19 at 14:46:16
 
Yes, it's really good to have a back up amp. I have two systems. . . and three amps. The Taboo Mk III is sort of my back up amp. I can use it or my CSP2+ with the anniversary mods for headphones in a headphone only system I have in the bedroom. I was thinking of selling the Mk III and keeping the CSP2+25 for that system, but. . . I may well do the opposite, sell the preamp and keep the amp, and send that in for the upgrades. (I had my Taboo Mk IV upgraded and boy did that make a positive difference!)
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HR-1,ZTPRE,ZBIT,ZROCK2,SE84UFO3-25th, CSP3-25th.Taboo Mk IV+MK III;Rega P3 w/modPS Audio:DMP+DSD,P10,NPC,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs; Mapleshade:SamsonV2+V3,double helix Plus spark cbl;Oppo UDP205;VooDoo:Cremona+Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner; headphones: PM1,HD800S,LCD-
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 290
Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #12 - 05/22/19 at 23:21:09
 
Looks like my modified ZMA will be back next Tuesday 5/28. Glad to get my UPS shipping note from Sarah today😊.

HK
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Lonely Raven PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 (or) Nottingham Interspace (heavy platter) TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > Zen Mystery 25th amp > Omega SAHO XRS speakers > ZenWave Audio, TWL, & Acoustic BBQ cables.
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HockessinKid
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Posts: 290
Re: ZMA Anniversary Mod
Reply #13 - 05/30/19 at 18:26:22
 
Thoroughly enjoying the 25th anniversary + other mods on my ZMA. I only have about 12 hours on it, but wow what an initial improvement in resolution, dynamics, and detail retrieval. Looking forward to full settling in of the caps and other parts.

HK
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Lonely Raven PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 (or) Nottingham Interspace (heavy platter) TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > Zen Mystery 25th amp > Omega SAHO XRS speakers > ZenWave Audio, TWL, & Acoustic BBQ cables.
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