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Volume Question (Read 1367 times)
Pappakap
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Volume Question
03/24/19 at 16:13:21
 
I just yesterday got an opportunity to pick up a set of Zu Dirty Wknds Mkii with the upgrades caps. Very excited to get them home and set them up on my system (Uturn table, Bellari Phono Preamp, SE84UFO). Previously they were hooked up to a set of Caintuck Audio and I enjoyed phenomenal imaging, good volume range, but lacking a little bottom end given the inherent nature of a single driver open baffle speaker. Getting into my listening I noticed I donít have nearly the volume range I did previously. I understand the Zuís take a little more to drive but Iíd be lying if I said I wasnít a little bummed that Iím not able to ďRock OutĒ quite as I expected. Do you Guys have any input on how I can get a little more oomph without picking up a mini Tori? I wasnít sure if Iím losing power somewhere in my setup or I just bit off more than I can chew.

Thanks,
Clint
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #1 - 03/24/19 at 16:36:17
 
Hi Clint,
The ZU DW's have a great reputation when matched with Decware amps.  In order to better understand your system, is your Bellari phono stage your only source?  What model Bellari is it?  

Any other sources?  

Cheers,
Jeff
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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//Omega SAHOs//DM946//Oppo UDP-205
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #2 - 03/24/19 at 16:46:00
 
Oh, and what cartridge are you running on your U-Turn?  

The gain on your Bellari is on the lower end at 30dB so the output level of your cartridge matters.  My assumption is you could benefit from a  phono pre-amp with more gain, or by adding a pre-amp between the Bellari and the Zen amp.  If you want to add additional sources down the road, adding a pre-amp would make more sense.  

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Pappakap
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #3 - 03/24/19 at 16:50:39
 
Thanks for the quick reply. Iím running a Bellari VP130. I was actually spinning on my girlfriends table at the time which just has the stock Uturn Cart and I acknowledge itís kinda meh. I have an Ortofon red cart on mine so it sounds like switching them out might be in order. Next on my upgrade list is a ZP3 when funds allow.
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Pappakap
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #4 - 03/25/19 at 01:12:11
 
After reading way too much today could it be my tubes, they seem solid to my ametuar eye but reading in the owners manual perhaps my tubes are impeding my volume.
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ArtMan
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #5 - 03/25/19 at 01:19:56
 
I have the Dirty Weekend II (with the Clarity Caps upgrade) and the SE84UFO and I do not lack for volume or dynamics. From your other replies it appears the lack of volume is likely due to your source rather than the speakers. Your girlfriends cartridge may require more gain than your preamp provides for full output.
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Pappakap
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #6 - 03/25/19 at 02:05:13
 
So I swapped it out for my turn table a UTurn Plus with the Ortofon Red cartridge and it helped a little but still not where I want to be. Does that mean itís on to cables?
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #7 - 03/25/19 at 02:42:40
 
Clint,
Your cables are not the problem.  Your cartridge and speakers are fine.  It is the your phono stage that is the weak link.  If vinyl is your one and only source, you've gotta get a phono stage with more gain if volume is your issue.  You can certainly add a pre-amp which would help, but again if vinyl is your only source then you would be better off with a ZP3 to pair with your Zen UFO.
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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//Omega SAHOs//DM946//Oppo UDP-205
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Pappakap
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #8 - 03/25/19 at 03:13:42
 
Interesting thanks for the feedback. Looks like budgeting a ZP3 is next up. Also I realized in my frustrated state I posted in the wrong tech sub forum itís actually a SE84CS. Though I doubt that changes much in terms of my gain issue.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #9 - 03/25/19 at 05:20:05
 
That is correct Clint, the problem/solution remains the same despite you having the SE84CS as opposed to the UFO Zen amp.

Good luck with reaching audio nirvana.  Decware is not the cheapest equipment out there but each component fights way above its weight class when it comes to price vs. performance.
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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//Omega SAHOs//DM946//Oppo UDP-205
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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #10 - 03/25/19 at 17:13:09
 
Jeff,

Do you happen to know what the max output level of ZP3 correspond to in terms of voltage?  

When I tried my SE84UFO with a 2V digital source driving Zu Druid mk V at 101dB efficiency, I was not impressed with the volume much.  Even with my 88.5dB ProAcís (8 ohms) or 91dB B&Wís (4 ohms), I have had higher volumes when I drove the amp with a high-gain source.  

So, my question is does the ZP3 go up as high as 8-9V that the SE84UFO (or SE84CS) would like to work with...  Or in other words, would Clint need a preamp apart from the phono stage?

Best,

Alper

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Mac Mini with Roon, Rega RP6, Rotel RCD-1070 & Marantz CD6005; Hegel HD30 & Copland DAC215; Decware SE84UFO25 & Copland CTA405; ProAc D28 & B&W DM630; Stein and BlackNoise filters; DH Labs power, interconnect and speaker cables
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Archie
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #11 - 03/25/19 at 17:20:30
 
I'll let Jeff answer this in detail but a 5mV cart into a ZP3 yields about 1/2 volt out of the ZP3 (by my calculation). †Most of Steve's amps hit full power with a 2 volt source. †So, I find a pre necessary to bring up the voltage from my ZP3 before I feed it into my amp to get 100% out of my amp. †Anything over the 2 volt input must be throttled back using the amp's volume control otherwise it will clip/distort.
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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)
HR1s (Upgrd - top & bass drivers & X-ovr)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under everything.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #12 - 03/25/19 at 18:44:46
 
When a 5mV cartridge is used with the ZP3, the output is equivalent to a 2V output source, such as a DAC or CD player. †Remember, the ZP3 has a built in gain stage that will amplify the 5mV signal.  The amp Clint has reaches full volume at 2 volts so a pre-amp will not help him in his situation. †He would need a larger amp to gain more decibels. †All a pre-amp will do is make his 2 watt amp clip sooner with regard to higher dB output. †A pre-amp will certainly change the sound, but it will not make his SE84CS any louder without it being over-driven. †

The ZP3 will provide him with 12 db's more than his current Bellari phono stage. †
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #13 - 03/25/19 at 18:50:55
 
Now, he could get a pre-amp in lieu of a ZP3 which would also give him more dB's but his primary source is a TT, so it makes more sense to replace the Bellari with a great phono stage such as the ZP3 instead of merely amplifying the less-than-stellar output of the Bellari. †
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Archie
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #14 - 03/25/19 at 20:47:20
 
Quote:
When a 5mV cartridge is used with the ZP3, the output is equivalent to a 2V output source


I would love for this to be true, and maybe it is but my TT and CD players definitely play at very different levels. †The formula I have for voltage gain is: †NdB = 20 log V1/V2 where V1 is the output voltage and V2 is the cart voltage. †For the ZP3 the NdB would be about 42. †So, Ndb = 20 log (.5V/.005V) and NdB ends up 40dB. †So it's really slightly more than 1/2 volt out (more like 0.63 volts) but still quite a bit less than 2V. †By this formula you'd need a pre with 52dB gain to hit 2 volts output with a 5mV cartridge.

No?

I agree that getting a ZP3 would be a great first step either way.
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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)
HR1s (Upgrd - top & bass drivers & X-ovr)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under everything.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #15 - 03/25/19 at 22:43:23
 
Hi Archie,
The ZP3 puts out "+ 42dB" over the whatever the cartridge is providing. †So, without measuring the cartridge dB output prior to the ZP3 gain stage, it would be difficult to know what the total dB output is for that cartridge/ZP3 combination. †The calculation you made assumes a total output of 42dB but the actual output would be higher since the ZP3 is adding dB above and beyond the cartridge. †

Either way, your ears tell you that the ZP3 is quieter than your CD and that is a better testimonial †than any theoretical explanation I can come up with. †That is of course reliant upon the fact that your CD transport is not actually putting out greater than 2V. †
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Archie
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #16 - 03/26/19 at 00:31:37
 
I thought the cartridge output was established in the cart specs and published as a nominal output. †I realize this changes across the frequency band but what kind of cart gain do you mean? †I take a fairly dumb approach since the science is beyond my understanding. †I would think measuring the output of the ZP3 would nail it down. †In my case, the specs for my CD player say 2V output.

I got that formula from a link that tries to "demystify" phonostage gain.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/taking-the-guesswork-out-of-phonostage-...

Of course, I don't even run my MM cart anymore and having added the ZMC1 complicates things even more.
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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)
HR1s (Upgrd - top & bass drivers & X-ovr)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under everything.
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Pappakap
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #17 - 03/26/19 at 01:32:07
 
It sounds like if Iím understanding correctly a ZP3 will get me more volume. Where I am getting confused is that if I at some point got a larger amp like a Torii would I gain dB? I also identify my Ortofon blue leaves some to be desired but I was under the impression that while a better cartridge will help volume itís not where you are going to see tremendous gains.
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #18 - 03/26/19 at 04:34:25
 
Quote:
I realize this changes across the frequency band but what kind of cart gain do you mean?


Not much, and I am not sure how linear (or not) this formula is when it comes to calculated dB output based on a starting cartridge voltage. †

Regardless, published specs and calculations provide a presumption, but your ears - and SPL meter †:) - are the final authority. †

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alper_yilmaz
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #19 - 03/26/19 at 16:20:44
 
Jeff and Archie,

Thank you very much for your informative responses; they really help and it makes sense.  I cannot come around what I have heard/experienced, though, that is when I feed my low-powered Decware amps with a 2-volt source they clip around the same point as when I feed them with much higher output sources.  Yet, I have the impression that feeding them with an higher-output source, they sound much louder.  This has been my experience with my good old SE34.2+, recently sold SE84UFO, and most recent acquisition of SE84UFO25.

I wonder if the relationship for clipping is linear; or Steveís specs are on the conservative side (which I always prefer rather than out-of-proportion high specs); or the specs of my sources are over-represented.

Thanks again for chiming in...

Best,

Alper
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Archie
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #20 - 03/26/19 at 17:08:59
 
Pappakap,

The greater the phonostage gain the more volume you should get. †Also, Steve's "bigger" amps have more power so they should also give more volume. †There is a limit to what an increase in input voltage will achieve. †However, increasing voltage to the amp but throttling it back via the amp volume control, while not increasing volume, will increase the weight/density of the music. †This can be perceived as an increase in volume.

Steve has this nice amp selection guide that explains some of this nicely but mainly pertains to speaker efficiency and amp power.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/buyingguide.html

In my case, I need a preamp after my phonostage to bring my volume up to the level that I get when using my CD player.

The Ortofon Blue is a good cartridge. †To evaluate relative loudness of various cartridges on a given system look at the "Output Voltage" spec. †The Blue is relatively high at 5.5mV (Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec., 5,5 mV). †Output voltage for some of the "best" cartridges can be quite low but quality and output voltage don't necessarily track in any meaningful way.
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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)
HR1s (Upgrd - top & bass drivers & X-ovr)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under everything.
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Pappakap
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #21 - 03/26/19 at 23:25:25
 
Thanks for the link. I read it eons ago but it was needed now. From his guide I think o have the right amp but the wrong phono. Guess Iíll just sit on the classifieds for one. Thanks everyone for the help.
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Archie
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Re: Volume Question
Reply #22 - 03/26/19 at 23:49:23
 
Your phonostage is the cause of my getting hooked on Decware. †About 5 years ago I wanted to upgrade my NAD PP2 and I started looking at the Bellari. †I first saw the name Decware on a forum where someone said that if you wanted a really good phonostage to look at Decware. †That slope turned out to be not only be slippery but vertical!

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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)
HR1s (Upgrd - top & bass drivers & X-ovr)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under everything.
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